Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi is the PEN/Hemingway prize winner of 2017, so my goal is to finish it by the end of the year. Even without finishing it, I can tell this book is deserving of the prize a hundred times over. Homegoing is set in the late 1700s in Africa, at the beginning of the slave trade. The book goes on to tell the story of two lines of a family. Two half sisters, one of whom was born to a slave woman, and the other, born to the same woman once she was free. Each chapter focuses on a new generation from the various family lines across centuries, leading to the presence.
Homegoing is vital to read in our present time. This book captures the horrors black people have endured through centuries of hate and discrimination. But it remains a beautiful story of how our lives unfold and what leads to who we are today. In the end, it is about finding your roots and your place in the world.
There were so many parts in the book I loved, but what surprised me the most is how I related to the characters. One of the characters from Africa feel like she does not belong in America; like she is ‘the wrong kind of black.’ This is how I feel being a white immigrant in the US. By default, I am excused from a lot of discrimination and injustice. But I am not welcomed to the privilege of a lot of middle class white people are born with.
I think it’s time we put away the things that divide us. Multiculturalism is what makes this country truly unique — it’s time we embrace that.
There’s still a few weeks left in 2017, don’t sleep on this book!