Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Homegoing” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.44  ·  Rating details ·  173,555 ratings  ·  20,877 reviews
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 conte ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Alfred A. Knopf
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Homegoing, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kerri I listened too, and had to write down as I listened:

Effia ===> Quay ===> James ==> Ahena (sp?) ===> Akua ===> Yaw ==>Marjorie

Esi ===> Ness ===> Kojo =…more
I listened too, and had to write down as I listened:

Effia ===> Quay ===> James ==> Ahena (sp?) ===> Akua ===> Yaw ==>Marjorie

Esi ===> Ness ===> Kojo ===> H ===> Willie ===> Sonny ===> Marcus(less)
E. I began this reading only because my friend liked it well enough to recommend it. My own response about Africans, both in Africa and in diaspora, has …moreI began this reading only because my friend liked it well enough to recommend it. My own response about Africans, both in Africa and in diaspora, has been unhappy. This book, however, has elicited a very positive response, though it explores many of the same issues that the others have. The difference seems to be the lyrical and forthright and non-judgmental point of view of the author. I loved it and wait for another book by Yaa Gyasi(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  173,555 ratings  ·  20,877 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Homegoing
Emily May
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“What I know now, my son: Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home.”

4 1/2 stars. Homegoing is an incredible and horrific look at history, colonialism and slavery in Ghana and America, across 250 years. How the author managed to create such rich characters, cover so much history, and tell such a complex, but compelling story in only 300 pages, I do not know.

I recently said in my review of East of
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it

Homegoing is a very confident debut novel. Exceptionally engaging and the strongest case for reparations and black rage I've read in a long time.

Seriously, white men are the devil.

The most interesting part of this novel, the structure, also becomes the most frustrating part of the novel. The story starts with two sisters who are never allowed to know each other, and what becomes of the generations they beget, starting in 18th century Ghana. The novel beautifully explores the slave trade and im
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I give 5 shining stars to Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, the best debut novel I have read this year. In this semi autobiographical tale, Gyasi follows the family histories of two half sisters, Effia the beauty and Esi to reveal how their families end up. Each chapter is a vignette focusing on a family member in subsequent generations, alternating between Effia and Esi's families until we reach present day. Here are their until now largely untold stories.

Effia the beauty had been raised by her step moth
Diane S ☔
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stunned, just absolutely stunned that this is a début novel. Spanning centuries and continents, the novel follows two families, one from the slave trading Fante nation and another from the Asante warrior nation, in the British colony that is now Ghana. Stepsisters, who are unaware of each others existence, one will marry a white man, a British official who lives in the upper part of the Cape Coast Castle. The other, in the lower dungeons of the same castle and sold as a slave, transported to the ...more
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: distant-lands
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best historical fiction category 2016!

"We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So, when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story, too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture."

this is a shockingly good debut novel.

it's more accura

“…that in America the worst thing you could be was a black man.”

Wow. What an incredible story! I'm pretty much blown away by the scale of this story. It's grand and I felt fulfilled by the end of it.

This novel, that reads like a collection of short stories, has the unique setting of each chapter following a different character's perspective, a new generation that follows on from its descendants - from Ghana to Harlem - that are often referred back to. It's structured like a
J.L.   Sutton
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is an ambitious and powerful novel which follows the descendants of two half-sisters in Ghana, some of the descendants stay in Ghana and some are shipped to America as slaves. In one way, the chapters of this novel (which follow descendants of the two sisters and span roughly 250 years) read like short stories because they introduce a totally new character in a new locale. However, these chapters bleed into each other and the emotional power of the accumulated stories (the ...more
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it

Right now it feels as if it's torn my heart and soul apart reading this deeply emotional book. It's been such a traumatic journey, and in addition to being profoundly moved by it all, I also feel both anger and shame at man's inhumanity to man.

Homegoing tells the story of stepsisters, Effia and Esi, and it charts their lives and subsequent generations of their families from the 18th century onwards, but most importantly it's about the slave trade in all it's grim and sordid detail. These sisters
Elyse  Walters
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"And so they waited. Ness and Sam and Kojo, working longer and harder in the fields than any of the other slaves so that even the Devil began to smile at the mention of their names. They waited out the fall and then winter, listening for the sound that would tell them it was time, praying that they wouldn't be sold and separated before their chance came".

"Homegoing" was one of the Fiction books nominated for best books of the year by members on Goodreads. It made the first round-cut. I'm on a m
Book Riot Community
This multigenerational epic has already gotten lots of attention, and it deserves every bit of it. Gyasi’s debut novel begins with two half-sisters in 18th-century Ghana, strangers to each other. Effia marries a white man, and Esi is enslaved and taken to America. The novel follows the children of these two women through the generations, alternating between Africa and America. As we meet each new descendent, we see how the legacy of slavery plays out across history, both for the enslaved and for ...more
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Homegoing is a multi-generational saga that follows the descendants of two half sisters, Effia and Esi, across three centuries, beginning in eighteenth-century Ghana and arriving at the present day.

Each chapter of Homegoing introduces a new character, which means readers are subjected to endless amounts of backstory - seamlessly integrated albeit wearisome. In many cases, when a character's story reaches i
Jennifer Masterson
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
My heart hurts and there is not enough Ben and Jerry's in this world to soothe it! After reading Homegoing I am literally spent! This is not a bad thing. This is just a very sad novel!!!

Homegoing covers the mid 18th Century to present times. It follows two different tribes in Ghana ( Fante and Asante), two different families, and specifically two half sisters, Effia and Esi and their offspring. The sisters know nothing of each other. Both sisters are living in Ghana. One sister stays in Ghana a
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-audible
“Every moment has a precedent and comes from this other moment, that comes from this other moment, that comes from this other moment.” - Yaa Gyasi

26- year old Yaa Gyasi wrote this debut novel after visiting Ghana, her native country, 18 years after her family moved to the United States. There to research a future novel, she visits Cape Coast Castle where slaves were kept in dungeons while awaiting transport to the new world. The author stated (in an interview) that the castle visit gave her the
There are sometimes when you read a book, you finish it, close the book, and think to yourself, that was good. Then, you simply and immediately pick up your next book and dive right in. Not giving that original book another thought. Then, there are those rare occasions where you read a book, finish it, simply close the book, and sit there stunned. You think to yourself, what the heck do I read next, knowing the next book will not compare. Knowing you can't get that original book out of your head ...more
Why are five-star reviews so much harder to write than negative ones?!

All I want to do is say “This book is perfect. Read it. Bye.”

Anything more than that is just extraneous.

Okay, I do also want to say that this is such a beautiful and painful representation of how white America has stolen the stories of Black people. As the reader of this story is able to learn the story of these bloodlines over the course of 300 years, constructing a narrative from ancestry to the present, so must the reader
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Because it--coupled with a once-in-a-lifetime trip into el mero corazon Azteca i.e. Mexico, Distrito Federal--affected me oh so much at just the correct time, "Homegoing" for me is the BOOK OF THE YEAR. It tackles huge themes (the main & overpowering ingredient in all the realm of literature is this confidence on the auteurs part to handle & fashion the ethereal) with the verocity and insatiability of a killer shark. Gyasi is the perennial literary Great White Shark--less common this species is ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
When a book is as popular and praiseworthy as this one, it’s easy to join the chorus justifying why. It’s much harder to come up with anything new to say. I’ll attempt the latter in a minute, but first here’s a recap of what others have already said:

» Young, debut author born in Ghana, brought up in Alabama writes a brilliant novel spanning multiple generations, putting faces on the African and African-American experience.

» The story begins with Effia (the beauty) who seemed destined to become a
Always Pouting
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stayed up until 5 am reading this and can I just say it was really really good. I was really engrossed while reading and I didn't even realize I should probably go to sleep. That said it was a hard book to read at times, as is any book covering slavery and the subsequent pervasive racism in this country. At some points I really wished we could stay with some characters longer though but I think that just goes back to how good the writing was and how easy it was to slip into the characters live ...more
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely stunning debut; one of the best I've read. Yaa Gyasi captures so many stories and handles them beautifully. We need more novels like this. And it's only her first! I can't wait to see what she does next.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing?, Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”

I was a bit afraid to read this novel because of its hype as it seems that recently I do not fare well with overpraised novels. I can safely say that I needn’t
"He had always said that the joining of a man and a woman was also the joining of two families. Ancestors, whole histories, came with the act, but so did sins and curses. The children were the embodiment of that unity, and they bore the brunt of it all."

Homegoing is an astonishing and heartrending debut novel written by the undeniably talented Yaa Gyasi. Truly epic in scope, the book covers a span of about three-hundred years from the eighteenth century straight into the twentieth century. Alter
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, africa, debut-novel
4.5 Stars

Covering the Asante and Fante tribes from 18th Century to the present, Homegoing follows two different families, two half sisters, Effia and Esi and their offspring. The sisters grow up knowing nothing of the other. Both are given a black stone necklace, to be passed down to the next generation. Both sisters are born in Ghana, spend their early years in Ghana, Esi is shipped to America as a slave. Effia stays in Ghana and marries a British soldier who works in the slave trade, living in
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Homegoing is a journey of history. Black history.
In this mesmerizing, breathtaking saga, a story of 2 tribes is told: the Asante and Fante in the Gold Coast in the 18th century. Two half sisters are born - one to each tribe and unknown to each other. Their lives go in polar directions with the white man determining their existence. One sister is selected to marry a white man who negotiates slaves and lives in prosperity; the other, is stolen and traded to live a life of hardship and heartbreak
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

I know I said I wouldn't review here anymore but then I READ THAT BOOK and I have things to say so here's me being inconsistent okay? Brace yourself, incoherent thoughts coming in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

I can't help writing about Homegoing for the simple reason that it is BRILLIANT. I don't even know how many times I fell in love and got my heart broken but DAMN IT WAS WORTH IT.

The truth is though, many readers won't read it, because of several excuses :

First off : Homegoing deals with slavery,
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing?

A literary DNA test of Homegoing would reveal it to be a direct descendant of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart; but whilst the latter is a pioneering attempt at a coherent English-language novel that explores the sociopolitical impact of British colonialism on the Nigerian native, Ms Gyasi’s book suffers under the weight of its own scope and,
Lauren Cecile
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great, well-researched book spanning generations and brilliantly showing how a people's past influences their futures.
This was the first time I read anything that illustrated so vividly how Africans were complicit in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. (I believe that's part of the reason that the mainstream critics love it.)
I enjoyed the scenes in Africa even more than the scenes in America although the chapters about how the Alabama penal system used wrongfully convicted convicts to work in the c
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Talk about ending my reading year with a bang; Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi blew me, and my expectations, away. It was everything I could ever ask for in a book, and the stories will stick with me for the rest of my life.

“The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position.”

This is, hands down, the best family saga I've ever read, and this is only Yaa Gyasi's debut novel! In three-hundred pages, Yaa Gyasi shows us sev
Jun 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
After 62% / 85% 100%:
I am too stubborn to quit, but I am not enjoying this. Not because it is dark, but because it offers only snapshots, brief glimpses of events and people.

This book is not for a reader who wants focus upon character portrayal. You start with two half-sisters. It is not about them, but about their many, many descendants. You get short glimpses, a patchwork of many, not an in-depth understanding of any. Confusing if you try to keep track in your head of the familial relationshi
Jenny Bunting
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-romance-recs
Go read this book. NOW.

I don't care what you're doing or what you're reading.

You should have intense FOMO about this. So much that you will stop what you're doing and get your hands on a copy ASAP.

I don't throw around 5 stars often so you should take this as a huge "get your ass to your library or bookstore and get a copy of this."

Take the day off. Binge read the shit out of this book. Then, experience that rare book hangover that makes you question everything, including hard facts you know abo
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 Hard to believe this is a debut novel.
This follows the families of two half sisters Effia and Esi in Ghana at the beginning of slavery in the eighteenth century. Effia gets married to a Brit and her descendants for the most part stay in Ghana through brutal conditions. Esi's descendants traded off to the American slave market and we follow them here...I never knew about the beginnings of slavery before this book... So many memorable characters. Very good, highly recommended.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Between the Lines: Discussion Question 5 1 2 Sep 26, 2020 03:19PM  
Between the Lines: Discussion Question 4 1 2 Sep 26, 2020 03:17PM  
Between the Lines: Discussion Question 3 1 1 Sep 26, 2020 03:16PM  
Between the Lines: Discussion Question 2 1 1 Sep 26, 2020 03:15PM  
Between the Lines: Discussion Question 1 1 1 Sep 26, 2020 02:56PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Vanishing Half
  • Americanah
  • Such a Fun Age
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • The Mothers
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
  • The Nickel Boys
  • Between the World and Me
  • Pachinko
  • Red at the Bone
  • The Underground Railroad
  • Queenie
  • A Burning
  • How to Be an Antiracist
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
  • The Death of Vivek Oji
  • The Girl with the Louding Voice
  • The Dutch House
See similar books…
YAA GYASI was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she held a Dean's Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn.

YAA GYASI is available for select speaking engagements. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at speakers@pengui

Articles featuring this book

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
87 likes · 37 comments
“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.” 555 likes
“You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.” 412 likes
More quotes…