Literaryswag Book Club's Pick for January: Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing

There's no better book I can think of starting 2017, and continuing the revolution, with than the best book of 2016. Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is a novel that elucidates what's so unnerving about time. Time is not just something we move through; it moves through us. More than the measure of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, time is a matter of what's done with it. Gyasi's way of depicting this is by following the lineages of two half sisters, Effia and Esi, born into different villages in Ghana. While Effia is married to an Englishman, her lineage remaining in Ghana; Esi is sold into slavery, where her descendants grow up in America. Each chapter alternates between the descendants of the sisters, taking us deeper into parallel circumstances unbeknwonst to the characters who are grappling with what it means to be a consequence of a history they are trying to make sense of. Gyasi bestows each character with their own inscrutable dignity by writing into each of them the conundrum of the human condition. Whatever the circumstances, none of us have asked to be here. Fewer of us decide how we go. Yet here we are, living life the best way we know how. The tragedy of this book is seeing how "better" and "best" is contingent upon one's time, one's family, and one's own history. Understanding what life has given us requires us to live. Gyasi's gift to her characters and to this book is remaining true to the private lives of people who were believed to not be in possession of them. What else makes us family with one another besides knowing that which few other people do? If life is a bitch, and time a motherfucker, Homegoing is the family heirloom that lets us know we're all related. We'll be meeting to discuss Gyasi's Homegoing at The Brooklyn Circus, Thursday, January 26th, 7pm at 150 Nevins St. The Book Club is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Come Through!!!

Jennelle Gordon