Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is an intricate exploration of the elaborate relationships between the past and the present. Upon opening the book, we are taken on a deeply moving narrative that traces the stories of two families across three continents and seven generations. Only ever given a snapshot of each family member, Gyasi manages to capture the essence of a single time period and place nevertheless linked to the tales of the others.
The two family-lines begin the novel together, yet the decisions and fate of each character increasingly pushes those in the following generation in separate directions. This revelatory contrast vibrantly depicts how our fates are intricately interwoven with those of our ancestors. We meet a stimulating assortment of varying characters: tribal slave traders, cotton pickers in Mississippi, girls in Missionary schools, drug-addicts in Harlem. Whilst they appear as conflicting and separate, their ancestry indelibly relates them all. Thus Gyasi achieves a vibrant picture of diversity, in which each individual component is nonetheless intricately connected.