Nominated by:

Jamaica Library Service, Kington

Stockholm Public Library, Sweden

The Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, USA

New Hampshire State Library, Concord, USA

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA

Richmond Public Library, USA

Ferguson Library, Stamford, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Alfred A. Knopf, USA


Yaa Gyasi      

2018 Longlist

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.

Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

About the author

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in New York City.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments

An unforgettable novel that begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indelibly drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Two African born half-sisters are separated by tragic circumstances as infants. Gyasi traces them and their descendants through the shifting worlds of colonial Ghana and enslaved America in this riveting first novel.

Homegoing is a multi-generational saga following the lives of two half sisters, one married into privilege, one sold into slavery – and their descendants, spanning 300 years in Ghana and America, It is a book that brings history to life in a way that, as one character puts it, “you feel it inside you”.

Gyasi fluidly creates a long, sweeping arc of time and place in this debut. Her difficult subjects are never marred by sentimentality or overdone emotions.

A must-read for absolutely everyone, Homegoing is compulsively readable, a finely crafted story of two families separated by oceans, centuries, and slavery. It is an American epic with roots in 18th century Ghana, a sweeping multi-generational family saga that will get into your soul and stay with you forever.

A valiant, deeply moving story about two sisters – one forced into slavery and the other who becomes the wife of the British lord. The generations that follow them grapple with the impact of slavery and colonialism. A truly visceral read.

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