by Yaa Gyasi
A very intriguing story of two half-sisters from the Fante people in Africa in the book Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. The book goes back and forth between the journeys of the two children (and subsequent next generations) of Maame. The book begins when a fire is started by the enslaved Asante mother, Maame, who uses this as an attempt to escape from her current entrapment by Cobbe, the father of her child. During the fire, Maame, in a hurry to escape, leaves her daughter, Effia, behind. Effia, without her mother around, grows up under the eye of her step-mother, Baaba, who does what she can to rid her family of the young girl. She finds the opportunity through James Collins, the governor of Cape Coast Castle, who is appointed by the British to run the slave trade. Collins takes the young Effia as a second wife, even though he has a family back in England. In the next chapter, Maame returns home. She gets married to “the Big Man” of the village and they have a daughter, Esi. Later, during a raid of the village, she is captured and sold into slavery. Each subsequent chapter follows members of the two daughter’s descendants. Esi’s family settles in America – many chapters focus on slavery there (civil war through 1960s) and all the race issues involved throughout. The chapters following Effia are set in the Gold Coast, known now as Ghana. Each chapter reads as a self-contained story with no need to read in any specific order. There were some chapters I enjoyed much more than others. Thumbs up for stories that capture the struggles of survival for the African population throughout our civilization.