Aug 182016
 

homegoingGyasi uses her own experience as a Ghanaian American to create an original tale of history.  We are asked to follow the descendants of one family member captured in northern Ghana, sold to the British, imprisoned in the Cape Coast Castle and shipped to the United States as enslaved chattel.  The other continues residence in Ghana under the curse of the ancestors.  While the raw brutality of enslavement is on full display, the remaining lives in Ghana are not to be envied.  Over the centuries, Ghanaians capture neighbors and sell them, they fight off British overlords, barely, and are trapped by superstition and custom.  Alas, Gyasi, a very young writer, has bitten off more than she can regurgitate in such a short novel.  Trying to cover two continents and all the generations encumbered by nearly three centuries means the recounting of too many stories that feel just a bit familiar: an aborted ride on the underground railroad, a slave whose back is scarred beyond recognition by whippings, the Middle Passage is inhumanely sickening.  The stories from Ghana are of course newer for us, but their brevity makes many of them too shallow to appreciate.

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