I’d heard nothing but praise for Homegoing before picking it up. It’s clearly a beloved story, and a big reason why we chose it as our November book. But sometimes such high expectations get in my way. But with the really good ones, the author-defining books like this one, expectations are just the beginning.
Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel Homegoing is a blow-you-away kind of story. Gyasi masterfully engineers the stories of eight generations into just three hundred pages in a way that’s nothing short of a work of art. Her writing is poetic and yet efficient. The characters are each sketched as full portraits in their short chapters. And the beginning of every ancestor’s story reads like the start of its own epic novel. Some of the characters I missed after their brief time in one chapter (give or take some overlap), but Gyasi then has you falling in love with the next character, and the next, and the next. And all the while she weaves in significant periods of history in a way that’s intimate, palpable, and very affecting. You can feel the stories as they move through time, humanizing major events through her characters.
These heartbreaking, beautiful, tortured, strong, stories span hundreds of years and several generations from two branches of the same family tree. It’s beautiful storytelling. And the ending has you seeing the journey all the way to the end in an entirely satisfying way.
I will say I think I did this book a disservice in how I read it. This time of year I don’t have more than twenty minutes at a time to dedicate to reading. But picking it up and putting it down again so frequently had me losing track of which character or family I was reading. And I think it took away from the book. If you haven’t read this one yet I encourage you to make sure you have hours (or a weekend) to devote to Homegoing so you can read it as one journey in its entirety.
But overall, this book was definitely a favorite for me and I’m so glad we picked it up for The Bookly Club! I hope you read along with us and enjoyed it too. Or that this review has convinced you to pick it up yourself. But if I didn’t convince you, here are some other great reviews you should check out….