What Durham Tech Has Read: Homegoing (& more!)

This book was read by Meredith Lewis, the Orange County Campus (mostly) Librarian, and several Durham Tech faculty & staff over the summer.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi book cover

Two half-sisters, 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. (Description from Goodreads)

Why did you choose to read this book? 

I’ve been reading reviews of it all summer and mentally putting it on my “to-read later” list, but when I polled Durham Tech faculty and staff about the best book they read this summer, this one kept coming up and so I picked it up. And it was amazing!

What did you like about it?

The story itself was powerful and, despite many of the settings being upsetting (as enslavement and its various repercussions should be!), it was hard to put the book down. I loved how, even though the point-of-view changed every chapter, it wasn’t hard to follow, either. You could also clearly see how the families’ histories were influencing their present–something I think most people know, but maybe don’t think about in their daily lives.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Anyone who finds the premise interesting! It really was great and incredibly thought-provoking.

What would you pair this book with?

A hefty dose of self-awareness– the past (and the societal forces that shape our families) heavily influences who we are in the present.

You can find this book and more in the downstairs display featuring the rest of Durham Tech Faculty & Staff’s Best of Summer 2016 reads!  Check it out for yourself!

About Meredith Lewis

Meredith is a reference librarian at Durham Tech on both the Main and Orange County Campuses. She likes fantasy, science-fiction, and historical fiction and is trying to be a better reader of non-fiction (just after she finishes that stack of novels on her bedside table...)