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Summer Reading 2017: Homegoing

Find the book you want to read this summer!

Kari wants you to choose this book because...

Homegoing begins in 18th Century Ghana where two sisters are separated -- one sold into slavery in America and one remaining in Africa. From there, the book traces the stories of their descendants era by era to the present day.

It is one of those books that, as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again to retrace all its connections--both within the narrative and in our own county's history.

About the book

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
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.

Applicable categories for the Urban Read Harder Challenge:

Diverse History (read a historical novel by an author of color)

Passport (read a book about or primarily set in a non European country)

For fans of

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Zadie Smith
  • Literary fiction
  • Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

About the reader

Kari Kiernan, Assistant to the Head of School