Saturday, February 03, 2018

Homegoing

Homegoing is the history of the tribes of Asante and Fante, spanning centuries and continents, through the stories of the members of one lineage.
Maame, taken as a prisoner of war in a Fante village, delivers Effia and escapes the same day leaving her newborn. Back in her Asante village, she gives birth to Esi. The novel follows the two women's progenies as the political and social background transforms.
For a debutant author, to cover an entire history of a people is a tremendous task. To make it simpler, Yaa Gyasi broke down the stories into a number of chapters, one for each character that showcases a generation of each women's progeny.
Through these characters, the author shows us how the slave trade of the prisoners of war between the two tribes, eventually led to slave trade with the British and then ultimately their subjugation by the British.
One chapter showcases the introduction of the cacao crop, and another the slavery in plantations in Americas. Soon we move into the exploitation of the free black people as prisoners working the mines, the discrimination in free modern society and the identity crisis of young people born and bred in relative equality.
By separating the chapters which are essentially short stories, she worked on them individually which gives it a certain charm. However, it would have been a lot more interesting had the stories been woven together. 

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