Winner of the PEN/ Hemingway Award
Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard Award
Shortlisted for the British Book Award - Debut of the Year
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, Time, Oprah.com, Harper's Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Esquire, Elle, Paste, Entertainment Weekly, the Skimm, PopSugar, Minneapolis Star Tribune, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, Financial Times
Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.
Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi's extraordinary novel illuminates slavery's troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed--and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.
Homegoing is a novel I wish I could have read when I was a young woman. An intelligent, beautiful and healing read, destined to become a classic -- Zadie Smith Shows the unmistakable touch of a gifted writer The New Yorker One of the richest, most rewarding reads of 2016 Elle Homegoing is one hell of a book... I recommend Homegoing without reservation. Definitely a must read for 2016. -- Roxane Gay I think I needed to read a book like this to remember what is possible. I think I needed to remember what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task. Homegoing is an inspiration -- Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award winning author of 'Between the World and Me' Wildly ambitious debut by a 26-year-old writer ... It's impossible not to admire the ambition and scope of Homegoing ... By its conclusion, the characters' tales of loss and resilience have acquired an inexorable and cumulative emotional weight -- Michiko Kakutani New York Times A marvellous novel Starred Publishers Weekly The brilliance of this structure, in which we know more than the characters do about the fate of their parents and children, pays homage to the vast scope of slavery without losing sight of its private devastation ... [Toni Morrison's] influence is palpable in Gyasi's historicity and lyricism; she shares Morrison's uncanny ability to crystalize, in a single event, slavery's moral and emotional fallout. What is uniquely Gyasi's is her ability to connect it so explicitly to the present day: No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country. Vogue US Homegoing is a remarkable feat - a novel at once epic and intimate, capturing the moral weight of history as it bears down on individual struggles, hopes and fears. A tremendous debut Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment [A] commanding debut ... will stay with you long after you've finished reading. When people talk about all the things fiction can teach its readers, they're talking about books like this Marie Claire Rarely does a grand, sweeping epic plumb interior lives so thoroughly. Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is a marvel. -- Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness Homegoing is an epic novel in every sense of the word - spanning three centuries, Homegoing is a sweeping account of two half-sisters in 18th-century Ghana and the lives of their many generations of descendants in America. A stunning, unforgettable account of family, history, and racism, Homegoing is an ambitious work that lives up to the hype. Buzzfeed Gyasi gives voice, and an empathetic ear, to the ensuing seven generations of flawed and deeply human descendants, creating a patchwork mastery of historical fiction Elle Gyasi echoes [James] Baldwin's understanding of a common culture marked by both yearning and pain, in which black people can confront each other across differences and reach a political understanding about what unites them. What distinguishes Gyasi's presentation of this idea is its scope: She does not present us with a single moment, but rather delivers a multigenerational saga in which two branches of a family, separated by slavery and time, emerge from the murk of history in a romantic embrace ... Homegoing is a reminder of the tenacity of fathers and mothers who struggle to keep their kin alive. The novel succeeds when it retrieves individual lives from the oblivion mandated by racism and spins the story of the family's struggle to survive. Bookforum A memorable epic of changing families and changing nations Chicago Tribune Epic...astonishing...page-turning Entertainment Weekly Yaa Gyasi establishes herself as an exciting new literary voice with a powerful debut BookPage A hypnotic debut novel by... a stirringly gifted young writer New York Times Book Review Tremendous...spectacular...[Homegoing is] essential reading from a young writer whose stellar instincts, sturdy craftsmanship and penetrating wisdom seem likely to continue apace - much to our good fortune as readers San Francisco Chronicle [A] sprawling epic... brims with compassion... In Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi has given rare and heroic voice to the missing and suppressed NPR A bold tale of slavery for a new 'Roots' generation Washington Post Rich, epic... Each chapter is tightly plotted, and there are suspenseful, even spectacular climaxes New York Magazine Rarely does a grand, sweeping epic plumb interior lives so thoroughly. Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is a marvel Shelf Awareness Terrific -- Ann Patchett Spectacular -- Taiye Selasi Homegoing is stunning - a truly heartbreaking work of literary genius Bustle This is, hand on heart, a completely brilliant novel...a brilliant debut. If this isn't shortlisted for some prizes next year, I'll be disappointed Stylist's pick of the best new books for 2017 Encompassing events major and minor, but skilfully skipping the civil war, it humanises big issues by giving us unforgettable characters. It could not be more relevant or needed -- Damian Barr Observer Books of the Year Gyasi's remarkable debut novel... is a devastating account of America...a quality that distinguishes Homegoing is its empathetic capacity to explore horror without ever losing sight of humanity or hope Sunday Times 3 To Watch Gyasi imbues indigenous life with richness and dignity, in a style that owes something - though by no means everything - to Chinua Achebe...it serves as the engine for a powerful message Daily Telegraph A future classic and a novel that you'll want to pass on to everyone you know...the real deal...2017 is set to be the year of Homegoing Stylist While the issues she wrestles with are heavy, her writing is a joy...Now, more than ever, we need books like this one Red A very, very fine piece of work...it's the kind of book I'd press into the hands of a teenager or someone in their early 20s who has been asking questions about the world and say if you want to know why the world is this way, try this book for starters -- Naomi Alderman Hugely courageous and really important -- Sathnam Sanghera Homegoing is remarkable...the writing at the end of the book is every bit as vital as that at the start...she has produced a contemporary classic - one you'll actually want to read Daily Mail An epic debut novel Good Housekeeping Intriguing debut...a noble enterprise -- Mail on Sunday Brilliant Sunday Telegraph Vivid and ambitious debut Sunday Express Toni Morrison's Beloved spoke to a generation. Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing will do the same for a new one. In a word, it's brilliant. And not just "for a debut" The Pool An astonishing epic debut Observer The powerful narrative of Yaa Gyasi's accomplished first novel do more than reveal the history that still troubles the United States. They make that history immediate Harper's Bazaar A fascinating view of the history of slavery...Gyasi gives voice to suppressed stories, and that feels hugely important...it certainly deserves our attention Sunday Times A searing indictment of racism and a very impressive debut Sunday Express Ambitious, superbly written, important - don't miss this one Woman & Home It is written with such maturity and beauty, that it is hard to believe it is Gyasi's first published work...Gyasi has created a masterpiece which is educational, highly ambitious and extremely touching. Her writing style is raw and intense and leaves one desperate to see what work she will produce in the future Press Association Extraordinary Glamour The hype is justified Emerald Street This unputdownable tale spans three continents and seven generations to tell the story of a family and of America itself Reader's Digest A bold and ambitious debut...full of fire and youthful confidence Daily Express Here is a book to help us remember. It is well worth its weight Guardian Hands down the best book I've read in months...I can't wait to see what Yaa Gyasi does next Grazia Gyasi has created a masterpiece which is educational, highly ambitious and extremely touching The i Through her words we come to understand parts of history that are sometimes ignored Pride An epic saga Scotsman A wonderfully evocative and compassionate novel - one that shows deftness, depth and maturity. Homegoing is a gift to its readers and a treasure to cherish -- Petina Gappah Financial Times The structure is fantastically strong, but it would have been nothing without Gyasi's ability to bring each character alive. At every turn she resists cliche and dogma ... she deftly weaves in just enough historical information without sacrificing its complexity ... Homegoing has something better than perfection, and that is a touch of magic... [Gyasi is] the right artist at the right time -- Alice O'Keefe New Statesman Gyasi's debut novel has a distinctive strength and courage ... a descendent of Alex Haley's Roots and Toni Morrison's Beloved, an extended response to Joyce Carol Oates's Last Hundred Years trilogy Times Literary Supplement A confident, vivid, engrossingtale [that] winds towards a moving conclusion Radio Times Gyasi's widescreen view of history powerfully drives home her view that we are all responsible for ourselves and for each other ... a highly compassionate feat of storytelling Metro Entwining history, politics and personal events, this is an ambitious novel that is, and will continue to be, highly culturally relevant Big Issue Astoundingly ambitious New Books
Yaa Gyasi was born in Mampong, Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her short stories have appeared in African American Review, Guernica and Callaloo. Homegoing is her first novel.