The Bibliophiliac’s Corner – “Homegoing”
Article and photo by Amanda Merriman
The Connection writer Amanda Merriman admits she is hopelessly addicted to books. It has been this way nearly all her life. Every month she shares what she has been reading with the hope that others will share in her obsession.
Yaa Gyasi has educated this bibliophiliac with this month’s book selection titled “Homegoing.” I confess I did not know much about this book before diving in. I looked up the word homegoing to remind myself of its significance. Homegoing refers to the African-American tradition of celebrating a loved one’s passing as a return to heaven. In Gyasi’s novel, a different take on the word is developed. The story is epic as it spans over centuries, generations and continents. Subsequently, Homegoing is a weighty and thought provoking undertaking. Gyasi explains the history and effects of slave trade by weaving this into the fabric of two strands of a family tree that originates in Ghana. Gyasi opened my eyes to the tragedy of the part Africans played in, as her novel describes, the “original sin” of slave trade. The issues in it are complex as they concern colonialism, warring between the Ashanti and Fanti people of Ghana, along with basic human rights. Throughout the telling of each descendant’s story, it becomes easy to see how the evil that started centuries ago still propagates and evolves to the present day.
As I read through the book, I did find myself most drawn to the earlier characters as opposed to the modern day ones. It was also interesting learning about the culture of Ghanaian people. That being said, it is my hope that this book becomes a part of recommended reading at college campuses. Gyasi writes, “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’?” Thankfully, Gyasi has brought a light to the voice of the suppressed in this sweeping and thought-provoking novel.
Fellow bibliophiles and book club members, please feel free to join in the dialogue. Blog your thoughts and feedback at www.castlepinesconnection.com and enter the keyword “bibliophiliac” in the search bar. Have you read a great book recently? Don’t keep that juicy tidbit all to yourself. Email your find to firstname.lastname@example.org.