Beginning with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history.
[Gyasi is] asking us to consider the tangled chains of moral responsibility that hang on our history. This is one of the many issues that Homegoing explores so powerfully ... [the] structure — essentially a novel in linked stories — places extraordinary demands on Gyasi. Each chapter must immediately introduce a new setting and new characters making fresh claims on our engagement. (The family tree at the front of the book is an invaluable reader’s crutch.) But the speed with which Gyasi sweeps across the decades isn’t confusing so much as dazzling, creating a kind of time-elapsed photo of black lives in America and in the motherland ... Gyasi, who is just 26 and reportedly received more than $1 million for this book, has developed a style agile enough to reflect the remarkable range of her first novel ... truly captivating.
Spanning three centuries of Ghanaian and American history, each chapter functions like a linked story, each with its own dramatic and emotional arc. While telling what happens to one descendant for each generation, the novel also sheds light on a point in history. In the wrong hands, this massive ambition — gliding through long periods of time with different characters — could result in disaster, but Gyasi pulls it off with spectacular results ... Homegoing brims with complex emotions and insights about the human condition. It is essential reading from a young writer whose stellar instincts, sturdy craftsmanship and penetrating wisdom seem likely to continue apace — much to our good fortune as readers.
Homegoing covers seven generations in 300 pages and is, for the most part, a blazing success ... Homegoing is, in essence, a novel in short stories, so each chapter is forced to stand on its own, and inevitably, some chapters fare better than others ... The sum of Homegoing’s parts is remarkable, a panoramic portrait of the slave trade and its reverberations, told through the travails of one family that carries the scars of that legacy.