Archive | June, 2016

A Little Slice of a Lot of Lives

11 Jun

homegoing

Every once in a while there comes a book that is written unlike any other book you’ve ever read. And I don’t necessarily mean word choice of plot path – but just a new type of novel. There are the ones that alternate present day narrative with a story from the past, the linear novels, the 1st person tales etc etc. Homegoing, for me, was a smashing success in its form. It begins in Ghana, two half-sisters (unknown to each other) Effia and Esi. One marries a British slaver, one is sold into slavery. The chapters follow each sister’s family tree, from the beginning (1790s) to present day. Effia, Esi, Effia’s son, Esi’s daughter, Effia’s son’s son, and on and on. It sounds like maybe there is the potential for this story structure to fail, but let me tell you. So good. Every single chapter had me wishing it was longer – that I could follow that particular character for the rest of the book. I am still sitting here and worrying about some of them whose stories were left unfinished. I  feel like I read a history of “The Black Man.” From the arrival of the British in Africa, to the hot hot cotton fields of the South, marching for equal rights, this story has it all.  I also feel like it showed every kind of love, of family, possible. Plus it was a pretty even split between stories in Africa and stories in America. Basically, it was brilliant. Different, compelling, horrifying, awful, so tender and truthful. 5 stars.