STAFF PICK: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Title: Homegoing
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Narrator: Dominic Hoffman

My listening choices tend to be quite random, but for this title I made the decision after it won the Audie Award for Literary Fiction. I haven’t previously chosen a book based on an award, but after this I’ll do it more often! Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a novel that takes you through seven generations of a family that’s separated in eighteenth-century Ghana. After the separation, one branch of the family continues living in war-torn Ghana, while the second branch endures slavery in America. I fully enjoyed the story told generation by generation, each touching on the impact of slavery and colonialism from a different perspective. Fourteen individual lives along the lineage casts light on 14 ways that the effects trickled down the family tree.

The narration is done by Dominic Hoffman, who beautifully performs different accents as the story switches from Ghana to America, and the voice changes from African tribe leaders to American slavers to British soldiers. When the accent transitions, I did not feel taken out of the story as is sometimes the case in other books – a talent I really value in a narrator.

I found the book touching and thought-provoking and it introduced me to a side of the story I’d never learned about. If you like fiction inspired by real history, this is a tale for you.

Listen to a sample of the audio here.

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