Seattle Reads Homegoing: Fiction to Read Next

In 2018 Seattle Reads Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Beginning in Ghana, 1760, Homegoing follows the parallel paths of two half-sisters and seven generations of their descendants in Ghana and the United States, in a stunning saga of the African diaspora that illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy. Gyasi will be in Seattle for a series of events May 16-17; find the full schedule here, including book groups, genealogy workshops, and three appearances by Gyasi.

We hope you’ve read, or are planning to read, Homegoing. Perhaps you enjoyed how Gyasi portrayed the sweep of familial generations, or the evocation of families dealing with enslavement and the aftermath. Perhaps you’re wondering – what do I read next? Fret not, our librarians have put together a list of fiction for fans of Homegoing to help you out.

Kindred by Octavia Butler
Butler’s historical time time travel novel about a young Black woman, Dana, who is wrenched from 1976 to the antebellum South over and over again to save the white slavemaster’s son who fathers her great-grandmother is an insightful look into the horrors of slavery and its generational impact.

Fingerprints of Previous Owners by Rebecca Entel
Myrna, a maid working at a Caribbean resort, begins searching the property it inhabits that was built on a former slave plantation. Myrna’s quest to uncover its hidden secrets  reveals how the trauma and pain of the past cannot stay buried forever.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Garcia Marquez’s literary lineage of the Buendia family illustrates how our lives are not fully our own, but are the result of the tragedies and triumphs of the lives that came before us.

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave from Illinois, boards a ship in New Orleans to back out of an engagement only to find that he inadvertently joined a slave ship bound for Africa. Seattle author.

Search Sweet Country by B. Kojo Laing
This debut set in 1975 Accra, Ghana delves into the lives of two men during a time of great societal change in their country, with Western and capitalistic values starting to eclipse the old ways.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
In the early 1900s, Sunja falls pregnant out of wedlock and flees Korea to Japan. Her decisions will echo through four generations living in exile from a home they never knew, as each seeks to create a life for themselves.

Beloved by Toni Morrison
A young woman escapes slavery but is haunted by the ghost of her dead child in this moving Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that plumbs the depths of slavery’s traumatic and corrosive impact on individuals and society.

Barkskins by Annie Proulx
Beginning in 1693 when two brothers arrive in New France, this story follows three centuries of their descendants as they plunder the Canadian and American forests, once thought of as an infinite resource too vast to deplete.

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
After their father, renowned surgeon Kweku Sai, dies outside his home in suburban Accra, the family he abandoned years ago comes together to reveal betrayals and heal wounds in a novel that Publishers Weekly called “Gorgeous. Reminiscent of Jhumpa Lahiri…”

Some Sing, Some Cry by Ntozake Shange
An African American family saga that explores three generations of women from Reconstruction to Jim Crow to the digital age. As in Homegoing, music is a theme that figures into the lives of characters.

The Expedition to the Baobab Tree by Wilma Stockenstrom
A former slave learning to survive in the harsh interior of Southern Africa reveals her history in this profound novel translated from Afrikaans by J.M. Coetzee. First published in the U.S. in 1983; reissued in 2014.

Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Based loosely on her family’s history, Tademy tells the story of four generations of African American women, from slavery on a Creole plantation in Louisiana to emancipation, Jim Crow, and the beginning of the Civil Rights movement.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The 2016 National Book Award Winner follows Cora as she breaks free from slavery on a Georgia cotton plantation, setting off on a journey that unspools the dark heart of this country’s past.

~ posted by Andrea G.

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