I read Homegoing in 2016, along with ElCicco and a host of others since then. I won’t recap the book for you, but have enclosed the link, if you’d like a refresher on my first review. When I re-read a book I’ve read for a previous CBR, I like to be in the habit of building on the initial review and thinking about what I’ve taken away on the second reading. I find that new thoughts will emerge. And they surely did for Homegoing.
This time around, I am less struck by the characters and more so by the idea of how we document and chronicle our histories. I was a history major in college (along with English), and one thing my professors impressed upon me was the many histories that existed alongside each other—it was the literate and the powerful that wrote the chronicles we have today, but they were not the only accounts. This is something that Gyasi takes seriously, as she chronicles the history of blackness in Ghana and in America. This time around, Kojo’s story stuck with me, because there is a tragic point but there seems to be no end. This is the way it was for people who were slaves or freed—they often had no way of tracing their past or predicting their futures, because they lived in such wildly unpredictable and dangerous environments.
This provoked a vibrant discussion at my library book club, and for good reason. Gyasi leaves you a lot to think about. She’s an incredible writer with an ambitious storytelling scope. I’m really eager to see what she comes up with next, and I highly recommend re-reading this book if you have already read it. Knowing what comes next makes the reading richer and more intricate, since you pick up on details you may otherwise have missed.
Cross-posted to my blog.