Homegoing is a three century long saga of slavery, violence, discrimination, struggle and eventually some progress, beginning and ending in Ghana, with interludes in America.
The story starts in 1760 in a Fante village touched by a destructive fire. Fire, its strength and its violence, is an ongoing theme in the book. Effia, a child born unto the fire and of a loving father and spiteful mother, becomes a raving beauty. She is ultimately married off to a white British man, James Collins, governor of the Cape Coast Castle.
The top floors of the Castle house the British officers and frequently their Fante wives, but the lower level hold something much more ominous–slaves. The villagers of Ghana terrorize other villages and capture or kidnap people and sell them to the British. Throughout the centuries of the book, kidnapping, violence, slavery and colonization torment the villages.
Effia and James have a child, Quey, and their progeny continue the various cycles through the novel. In the meantime, while Effia and James are living large in the castle, Essi, the 15 year old daughter of the best warrior in Asenteland, has been kidnapped and is malingering in the dungeon of Cape Coast Castle. She is raped, sold to a plantation master in America and has a daughter, Ness, born into slavery. Ness is the start of the novel’s story of slavery and abuse in America.
Throughout the novel there are tales of changing forms of violence and discrimination: In Ghana, violence among villages, kidnapping, forced marriages, superstition and British colonization. In America, slavery, kidnapping, extreme poverty, improper arrests and servitude, discrimination and drug addiction. Ultimately, when the Ghana side of the story and the America side of the story find each other, there is hopefulness.
The novel is well conceived and put together and provides an explanation of the history of racism and inequity in America, ending with a hint of hope. The book can be reserved at the Cuyahoga County Library by clicking on http://encore.cuyahoga.lib.oh.us/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11211479__Shomegoing__P0%2C2__Orightresult__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold