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Yaa Gyasi's novel provides a painful look at slavery on an intimate, individual level

Talk of Iowa Book Club Podcast logo

The novel Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi, begins on Africa’s Gold Coast in the 18th century. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born in different villages and into different tribes, the Fante and Asanti. Effia leaves her village to become the illegitimate wife of a British soldier who is trafficking humans in the slave trade. Esi is captured during a raid, enslaved and sent to the American South. The book follows the descendants of these two sisters through eight generations — one family remaining in Africa and the other in the United States. Following these characters, we see the long legacy of slavery and colonization through the eyes of the people who lived it.

On this episode of the Talk of Iowa book club, host Charity Nebbe discusses the expansive novel with two expert readers; Makeba Lavan is an assistant professor in English at Grinnell College, and Rachelle Chase is the author of two nonfiction books about Buxton, Iowa.

Guests:

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio