I just… I… I don’t even know where to begin with this review. This book is a-mazing. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time, and should be required reading for everyone.
The story starts on the Gold Coast of Africa (Ghana), with the parallel tales of two half-sisters who never know each other – one is married off to a white slave trader, and one is captured and sold as a slave. Each chapter alternates between the next generations of each woman’s lineage – tracing the family’s journey in Africa and America.
Yes, it is a book about race and history…. but it’s also about the beauty of the Fante and Asante cultures, the power of family ties, the deep fears that are passed through generations, and the yearning for home.
Gyasi is a storytelling wizard. Where as some authors need an entire book to create deep characters who resonate with the reader, Gyasi gets there in mere paragraphs. She devotes only one chapter to each generation – and even in that short space, I was invested in these fictional lives. My only complaint is that I wanted more. I would read a whole book dedicated to each of those characters – I was so sad to see the end of a chapter because it meant leaving that generation behind.
I originally picked this up because of the amazing things I’d heard about it, and it doesn’t disappoint at all. 5+ stars.