Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist, and will live in comfort, raising half-caste children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister Esi will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, before being shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books/Doubleday Canada, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780385686136
Characteristics: 305 pages :,genealogical table ;,25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 22, 2019

The author is new, judging from details included in the Acknowledgements, and so I consider this work a notable and promising effort. While the book cover suggests an African theme, the story is both African and African American. It traces a set of related individuals over several generations, from before the rise of the slave trade in western Africa to Jim Crow America. Given the trans-generational framework, the reader is challenged to remember the characters from the previous periods; I had a difficult time making the connections. I did find the American scenarios most compelling and best fleshed out. I consider the effort praiseworthy although I caution the reader about fellow-author testimonies as I find them misleading at times, and this is one of them.

Dec 11, 2018

This is a beautifully written book. Yaa Gyasi is an amazing storyteller and I can't wait to discuss this with my bookgroup.

Oct 16, 2018

An easy read to learn about history, plain, poetic, predictable.

Genealogy_Lynn Aug 23, 2018

The chapters in this novel are linked stories following two half-sisters' descendants. Everyone’s lives are touched in some way by the slave trade. The family tree at the front of the book helps to keep the descendants and people clear in one’s mind. It’s a complicated book which deals with a serious subject. I will remember some of the events in this book for a long time to come.

Jul 21, 2018

Yaa Gyasi's novel, Homegoing is the best piece of fiction that I've read all year. It moved me the same way that Lawrence Hill's novel, The Book Of Negroes did when I read it a few years ago. I can't find the right words to express how impactful and vital these works of fiction are to the African Diaspora. Homegoing deserves a standing ovation!

I would love to see this novel eventually become a TV series on Netflix. Each episode could be based on a character in the book. With the right director, writers, and actors it would be an amazing visual project!

Jun 23, 2018

My review looks like 4 1/2 stars, but its supposed to be 5. This book is perfect. I listened to the audiobook version of this. The narrator is one of the best I’ve ever heard— he captures all the different accents, moods, etc. And the stories are brilliant. So much history that never gets talked about in our country! A really beautiful depiction following a lineage across time. I can’t recommend this enough. It should be required reading in all the high schools.

May 17, 2018

This title was chosen for the 2018 Seattle Reads book. The fictional work follows the lineage of two families from early African Tribal life, through the devastation of the slave trade, and onto current day. Each character/time frame is pretty much self-contained, almost separate stories. I loved the characters and the realistic feel of the settings. Although I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this on my own, I'm glad I did. It is well written and worth reading. There is violence and explicit content.

SPPL_Kristen Mar 22, 2018

My only complaint is that I didn't get to spend even more time with these characters

Mar 17, 2018

So grateful for this book! The art with which Gyasi unfolds the stories of two sisters separated and formed by the slave trade, and of their descendants, is such that the reader is focused entirely on the very human subjects of her art. If I were a high school teacher in the US, I would want this to be required reading for every student. 'Black history' is EVERYONE'S history. Until we learn these lessons, we will never be whole as a nation.

ylpladults Mar 06, 2018

Alternating chapters show the effects of slavery on both sides of the slave trade through generations: the African slave traders and those they sold into slavery. A strongly written, moving, no holds barred novel.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Jan 03, 2019

We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.

Dec 27, 2018

You can learn anything when you have to learn it. You could learn to fly if it meant you would live another day.

Oct 06, 2017

You are not your mother’s first daughter. There was one before you. And in my village we have a saying about separated sisters. They are like a woman and her reflection, doomed to stay on opposite sides of the pond.

Jan 10, 2017

“History is Storytelling… This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others. Those who were there in the olden days, they told stories to the children so that the children would know, so that the children could tell stories to their children. And so on, and so on. But now we come upon the problem of conflicting stories… Whose story do we believe? We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.” - pages 225 & 226

Jan 10, 2017

"Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves." - page 38

Jun 02, 2016

"'Shorter hours, better ventilation, those are things that you should be fighting for.'
'More money’s what we should be fighting for.'
'Money’s nice, don’t get me wrong. But mining can be a whole lot safer than what it is. Lives are worth fighting for too.'"

"'When a white man ever listened to a black man?'"


Add a Summary
Oct 06, 2017

Effia and Esi are half-sisters who have never met. First divided by their mother’s secrets, they will soon be divided by an ocean when Esi is sold into slavery and shipped across the Atlantic. Effia remains in Ghana, sold in marriage by her step-mother to the British governor of the Cape Coast Castle, where slaves are held in cramped dungeons before being loaded onto ships bound for America. In present day America, Marjorie wrestles with her identity as a Ghanaian immigrant to the United States, while Marcus struggles to complete his PhD knowing that many young black men of his generation are dead or in jail, and that only chance has kept him from the same fate. In a sweeping family saga, Yaa Gyasi follows the sisters’ bloodlines over hundreds of years, one child from each generation, tracing the impact of colonialism and slavery across the centuries, between Ghana and America.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

Library owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top