BINGO – Home
Summary: Homegoing follows multiple generations of families that start in 17th century Ghana and track all the way through modern day. Homegoing follows a linear plot structure but each chapter switches from family to family and from one generation to the next. This novel is sweeping in its scope. The culmination of the two stories lines comes together in an expected way but one that is still works. Most vignettes of the families are about finding one’s home or space, trying to figure out one’s place in the world and how that place came to be.
Gyasi is unafraid to put her characters through it. The novel begins with two families in Ghana when white people show up at the start of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Gyasi unflinchingly describes what it was like to be kidnapped and then to be an enslaved person. Later, Gyasi takes us through enslaved conditions in the South into life after slavery was abolished but not indentured servitude through the prison system all the way through the drug epidemic of the 70s. At one point, a character working on a dissertation in history describes the issues of focusing on just one topic because that one topic or moment in history is informed by this previous one which was influenced by another which was caused by yet a different moment ad infintum. Gyasi, through Homegoing, presents that thread.
I listened to this book as an audiobook which was a delight. The voice actor did a great job of differentiating characters voices without it being distracting. For me, listening to Homegoing as an audiobook forced me to keep going through the novel. There was no stopping and going back to reread about characters or try and find details that I may have forgotten. In a book that is in someway concerned with the passage of history and what is remembered and forgotten, I found this limitation appropriate and added to my overall enjoyment of the book.