Weekend Pick for October 21, 2022
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I am personally impressed and inspired by Yaa Gyasi and her success. Born in 1989 in Mampong, Ghana, she published her debut novel Homegoing in 2016. The novel became an outstanding contribution to literature from the beginning. It won the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" honors for 2016 and the American Book Award. Gyasi was awarded a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature in 2020.
One of my teacher candidates, Maggie Tregre, shares her experience with the novel:
Homegoing captures life and history of generations at the moments when living seems almost impossible. Yaa Gyasi's first novel describes the destiny of the individual against the destroying power of the slavery machine, narrating remarkable characters whose lives are molded by historical forces beyond any possibility of choice or control. The novel follows the lineage of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, born into different villages in the 18th century Ghana and traces this Akan family across seven generations after it is split into two by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It is more a collection of linked stories than a conventional novel.
This is a must-read novel not only for aspiring young writers, but for teachers, educators, and adolescents. In this novel, history comes alive, raw, painful, and staggeringly real.
Till next Friday,