Books that every International Volunteer should read. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi's magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.
Who is this #remarkable woman?
Yaa Gyasi (born 1989) is a Ghanaian-American novelist. Her debut novel, Homegoing, published in 2016, won her, at the age of 26, the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" honors for 2016 and the American Book Award. She was awarded a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature in 2020.
Early life and education
Born in Mampong, Ghana, she is the daughter of Kwaku Gyasi, a professor of French at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Sophia, who is a nurse. Her family moved to the United States in 1991 when her father was completing his Ph.D. at Ohio State University.The family also lived in Illinois and Tennessee, and from the age of 10, Gyasi was raised in Huntsville, Alabama.
Gyasi recalls being shy as a child, feeling close to her brothers for their shared experiences as young immigrant children in Alabama, and turning to books as her "closest friends".She received a certificate of achievement signed by LeVar Burton after submitting the first story she wrote to the Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest, which encouraged her, and after reading Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon while attending Grissom High School at the age of 17, she was inspired to choose a career in writing.
Transcendent Kingdom (2020)
National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for best first book
PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction
2016: National Book Foundation's "5 under 35
American Book Award
2017: Granta Best of Young American Novelists
2020: Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature, Vilcek Foundation
Pic and credit by Yaa Gyasi
Source by Wikipedia and Good Reads.
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