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  • Format Kindle
  • 315 pages
  • Homegoing
  • Yaa Gyasi
  • Anglais
  • 09 January 2018

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HomegoingEffiaThe night effia otcher was born into the musky heat of Fanteland, a fire raged through the woods just outside her fathers compound It moved quickly, tearing a path for days It lived off the air it slept in caves and hid in trees it burned, up and through, unconcerned with what wreckage it left behind, until it reached an Asante village There, it disappeared, becoming one with the nightEffias father, Cobbe Otcher, left his first wife, Baaba, with the new baby so that he might survey the damage to his yams, that most precious crop known far and wide to sustain families Cobbe had lost seven yams, and he felt each loss as a blow to his own family He knew then that the memory of the fire that burned, then fled, would haunt him, his children, and his childrens children for as long as the line continued When he came back into Baabas hut to find Effia, the child of the nights fire, shrieking into the air, he looked at his wife and said, We will never again speak of what happened todayThe villagers began to say that the baby was born of the fire, that this was the reason Baaba had no milk Effia was nursed by Cobbes second wife, who had just given birth to a son three months before Effia would not latch on, and when she did, her sharp gums would tear at the flesh around the womans nipples until she became afraid to feed the baby Because of this, Effia grew thinner, skin on small birdlike bones, with a large black hole of a mouth that expelled a hungry cry which could be heard throughout the village, even on the days Baaba did her best to smother it, covering the babys lips with the rough palm of her left handLove her, Cobbe commanded, as though love were as simple an act as lifting food up from an iron plate and past ones lips At night, Baaba dreamed of leaving the baby in the dark forest so that the god Nyame could do with her as he pleasedEffia grew older The summer after her third birthday, Baaba had her first son The boys name was Fiifi, and he was so fat that sometimes, when Baaba wasnt looking, Effia would roll him along the ground like a ball The first day that Baaba let Effia hold him, she accidentally dropped him The baby bounced on his buttocks, landed on his stomach, and looked up at everyone in the room, confused as to whether or not he should cry He decided against it, but Baaba, who had been stirring banku, lifted her stirring stick and beat Effia across her bare back Each time the stick lifted off the girls body, it would leave behind hot, sticky pieces of banku that burned into her flesh By the time Baaba had finished, Effia was covered with sores, screaming and crying From the floor, rolling this way and that on his belly, Fiifi looked at Effia with his saucer eyes but made no noiseCobbe came home to find his other wives attending to Effias wounds and understood immediately what had happened He and Baaba fought well into the night Effia could hear them through the thin walls of the hut where she lay on the floor, drifting in and out of a feverish sleep In her dream, Cobbe was a lion and Baaba was a tree The lion plucked the tree from the ground where it stood and slammed it back down The tree stretched its branches in protest, and the lion ripped them off, one by one The tree, horizontal, began to cry red ants that traveled down the thin cracks between its bark The ants pooled on the soft earth around the top of the tree trunkAnd so the cycle began Baaba beat Effia Cobbe beat Baaba By the time Effia had reached age ten, she could recite a history of the scars on her body The summer of , when Baaba broke yams across her back The spring of , when Baaba bashed her left foot with a rock, breaking her big toe so that it now always pointed away from the other toes For each scar on Effias body, there was a companion scar on Baabas, but that didnt stop mother from beating daughter, father from beating motherMatters were only made worse by Effias blossoming beauty When she was twelve, her breasts arrived, two lumps that sprung from her chest, as soft as mango flesh The men of the village knew that first blood would soon follow, and they waited for the chance to ask Baaba and Cobbe for her hand The gifts started One man tapped palm wine better than anyone else in the village, but anothers fishing nets were never empty Cobbes family feasted off Effias burgeoning womanhood Their bellies, their hands, were never emptyIn , Adwoa Aidoo became the first girl of the village to be proposed to by one of the British soldiers She was light skinned and sharp tongued In the mornings, after she had bathed, she rubbed shea butter all over her body, underneath her breasts and between her legs Effia didnt know her well, but she had seen her naked one day when Baaba sent her to carry palm oil to the girls hut Her skin was slick and shiny, her hair regalThe first time the white man came, Adwoas mother asked Effias parents to show him around the village while Adwoa prepared herself for himCan I come Effia asked, running after her parents as they walked She heard Baabas no in one ear and Cobbes yes in the other Her fathers ear won, and soon Effia was standing before the first white man she had ever seenHe is happy to meet you, the translator said as the white man held his hand out to Effia She didnt accept it Instead, she hid behind her fathers leg and watched himHe wore a coat that had shiny gold buttons down the middle it strained against his paunch His face was red, as though his neck were a stump on fire He was fat all over and sweating huge droplets from his forehead and above his bare lips Effia started to think of him as a rain cloud sallow and wet and shapelessPlease, he would like to see the village, the translator said, and they all began to walkThey stopped first by Effias own compound This is where we live, Effia told the white man, and he smiled at her dumbly, his green eyes hidden in fogHe didnt understand Even after his translator spoke to him, he didnt understandCobbe held Effias hand as he and Baaba led the white man through the compound Here, in this village, Cobbe said, each wife has her own hut This is the hut she shares with her children When it is her husbands night to be with her, he goes to her in her hutThe white mans eyes grew clearer as the translation was given, and suddenly Effia realized that he was seeing through new eyes The mud of her huts walls, the straw of the roof, he could finally see themThey continued on through the village, showing the white man the town square, the small fishing boats formed from hollowed out tree trunks that the men carried with them when they walked the few miles down to the coast Effia forced herself to see things through new eyes, too She smelled the sea salt wind as it touched the hairs in her nose, felt the bark of a palm tree as sharp as a scratch, saw the deep, deep red of the clay that was all around themBaaba, Effia asked once the men had walked farther ahead of them, why will Adwoa marry this man Because her mother says soA few weeks later, the white man came back to pay respects to Adwoas mother, and Effia and all of the other villagers gathered around to see what he would offer There was the bride price of fifteen pounds There were goods hed brought with him from the Castle, carried on the backs of Asantes Cobbe made Effia stand behind him as they watched the servants come in with fabric, millet, gold, and ironWhen they walked back to their compound, Cobbe pulled Effia aside, letting his wives and other children walk in front of themDo you understand what just happened he asked her In the distance, Baaba slipped her hand into Fiifis Effias brother had just turned eleven, but he could already climb up the trunk of a palm tree using nothing but his bare hands and feet for supportThe white man came to take Adwoa away, Effia saidHer father nodded The white men live in the Cape Coast Castle There, they trade goods with our peopleLike iron and millet Her father put his hand on her shoulder and kissed the top of her forehead, but when he pulled away the look in his eyes was troubled and distant Yes, we get iron and millet, but we must give them things in return That man came from Cape Coast to marry Adwoa, and there will belike him who will come and take our daughters away But you, my own, I have bigger plans for you than to live as a white mans wife You will marry a man of our villageBaaba turned around just then, and Effia caught her eyes Baaba scowled Effia looked at her father to see if he had noticed, but Cobbe did not say a wordEffia knew who her choice for husband would be, and she dearly hoped her parents would choose the same man Abeeku Badu was next in line to be the village chief He was tall, with skin like the pit of an avocado and large hands with long, slender fingers that he waved around like lightning bolts every time he spoke He had visited their compound four times in the last month, and later that week, he and Effia were to share a meal togetherAbeeku brought a goat His servants carried yams and fish and palm wine Baaba and the other wives stoked their fires and heated the oil The air smelled richThat morning, Baaba had plaited Effias hair Two long braids on either side of her center part They made her look like a ram, strong, willful Effia had oiled her naked body and put gold in her ears She sat across from Abeeku as they ate, pleased as he stole appreciative glancesWere you at Adwoas ceremony Baaba asked once all of the men had been served and the women finally began to eatYes, I was there, but only briefly It is a shame Adwoa will be leaving the village She would have made a good wifeWill you work for the British when you become chief Effia asked Cobbe and Baaba sent her sharp looks, and she lowered her head, but she lifted it to find Abeeku smilingWe work with the British, Effia, not for them That is the meaning of trade When I am chief, we will continue as we have, facilitating trade with the Asantes and the BritishEffia nodded She wasnt exactly sure what this meant, but she could tell from her parents looks that it was best to keep her mouth shut Abeeku Badu was the first man they had brought to meet her Effia wanted desperately for him to want her, but she did not yet know what kind of man he was, what kind of woman he required In her hut, Effia could ask her father and Fiifi anything she wanted It was Baaba who practiced silence and preferred the same from Effia, Baaba who had slapped her for asking why she did not take her to be blessed as all the other mothers did for their daughters It was only when Effia didnt speak or question, when she made herself small, that she could feel Baabas love, or something like it Maybe this was what Abeeku wanted tooAbeeku finished eating He shook hands with everyone in the family, and stopped by Effias mother You will let me know when she is ready, he saidBaaba clutched a hand to her chest and nodded soberly Cobbe and the other men saw Abeeku off as the rest of the family wavedThat night, Baaba woke Effia up while she was sleeping on the floor of their hut Effia felt the warmth of her mothers breath against her ear as she spoke When your blood comes, Effia, you must hide it You must tell me and no one else, she said Do you understand She handed Effia palm fronds that she had turned into soft, rolled sheets Place these inside of you, and check them every day When they turn red, you must tell meEffia looked at the palm fronds, held in Baabas outstretched hands She didnt take them at first, but when she looked up again there was something like desperation in her mothers eyes And because the look had softened Baabas face somehow, and because Effia also knew desperation, that fruit of longing, she did as she was told Every day, Effia checked for red, but the palm fronds came out greenish white as always In the spring, the chief of the village grew ill, and everyone watched Abeeku carefully to see if he was ready for the task He married two women in those months, Arekua the Wise, and Millicent, the half caste daughter of a Fante woman and a British soldier The soldier had died from fever, leaving his wife and two children much wealth to do with as they pleased Effia prayed for the day all of the villagers would call her Effia the Beauty, as Abeeku called her on the rare occasions when he was permitted to speak to herMillicents mother had been given a new name by her white husband She was a plump, fleshy woman with teeth that twinkled against the dark night of her skin She had decided to move out of the Castle and into the village once her husband died Because the white men could not leave money in their wills to their Fante wives and children, they left it to other soldiers and friends, and those friends paid the wives Millicents mother had been given enough money for a new start and a piece of land She and Millicent would often come visit Effia and Baaba, for, as she said, they would soon be a part of the same familyMillicent was the lightest skinned woman Effia had ever seen Her black hair reached down to the middle of her back and her eyes were tinged with green She rarely smiled, and she spoke with a husky voice and a strange Fante accentWhat was it like in the Castle Baaba asked Millicents mother one day while the four women were sitting to a snack of groundnuts and bananasIt was fine, fine They take care of you, oh, these men It is like they have never been with a woman before I dont know what their British wives were doing I tell you, my husband looked at me like I was water and he was fire, and every night he had to be put out The women laughed Millicent slipped Effia a smile, and Effia wanted to ask her what it was like with Abeeku, but she did not dare Baaba leaned in close to Millicents mother, but still Effia could hear, And they pay a good bride price, eh Enh, I tell you, my husband paid my mother ten pounds, and that was fifteen years ago To be sure, my sister, the money is good, but I for one am glad my daughter has married a Fante Even if a soldier offered to pay twenty pounds, she would not get to be the wife of a chief And whats worse, she would have to live in the Castle, far from me No, no, it is better to marry a man of the village so that your daughters can stay close to you Baaba nodded and turned toward Effia, who quickly looked away That night, just two days after her fifteenth birthday, the blood came It was not the powerful rush of the ocean waves that Effia had expected it to be, but rather a simple trickle, rain dripping, drop by drop, from the same spot of a huts roof She cleaned herself off and waited for her father to leave Baaba so that she could tell her Baaba, she said, showing her the palm fronds painted red I have gotten my blood Baaba placed a hand over her lips Who else knows No one, Effia said You will keep it that way Do you understand When anyone asks you if you have become a woman yet, you will answer no Effia nodded She turned to leave, but a question was burning hot coals in the pit of her stomach Why she finally asked Baaba reached into Effias mouth and pulled out her tongue, pinching the tip with her sharp fingernails Who are you that you think you can question me, enh If you do not do as I say, I will make sure you never speak again She released Effias tongue, and for the rest of the night, Effia tasted her own bloodHomegoing is an inspiration Ta Nehisi CoatesSpectacularZadie SmithPowerful Compelling Illuminating The Boston Globe A blazing successLos Angeles Times I could not put this book down Roxane GayDevastating Luminous Entertainment Weekly A beautiful story Trevor Noah, The Daily ShowSpellbinding Minneapolis Star Tribune Dazzling Devastating Truly captivating The Washington PostBrims with compassion Yaa Gyasi has given rare and heroic voice to the missing and suppressed NPR TremendousSpectacular Essential reading San Francisco Chronicle Magical Hypnotic Yaa Gyasi is a stirringly gifted writer The New York Times Book Review Powerful Gyasi has delivered something unbelievably tough to pull off a centuries spanning epic of interlinked short stories She has a poets ability to pain a scene with a handful of phrases The Christian Science Monitor Thanks to Ms Gyasis instinctive storytelling gifts, the book leaves the reader with a visceral understanding of both the savage realities of slavery and the emotional damage that is handed down, over the centuries By its conclusion, the characters tales of loss and resilience have acquired an inexorable and cumulative emotional weight The New York Times Toni Morrisons influence is palpable in Gyasis historicity and lyricism she shares Morrisons uncanny ability to crystalize, in a single event, slaverys moral and emotional fallout No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country Vogue Gyasi gives voice, and an empathetic ear, to the ensuing seven generations of flawed and deeply human descendants, creating a patchwork mastery of historical fiction ElleA remarkable feata novel at once epic and intimate, capturing the moral weight of history as it bears down on individual struggles, hopes, and fearsA tremendous debutPhil Klay, National Book Award winning author of Redeployment Rich Fascinating Each chapter is tightly plotted, and there are suspenseful, even spectacular climaxes Vulture A commanding debutwill stay with you long after youve finished reading When people talk about all the things fiction can teach its readers, theyre talking about books like this Marie Claire Homegoingweaves a spectacular epic Gyasi gives voice not just to a single person or moment, but to a resonant chorus of eight generations Los Angeles Review of Books Moving Compelling Gyasi is an enormously talented writer The Dallas Morning NewsI cannot remember the last time I read a novel that made me want to use the adjective perfect Yaa Gyasis Homegoingis a feat rarely achieved a book with the scope of world history and the craft of something much smaller The cumulative effect is staggering Molly McArdle, Brooklyn Magazine Carrying on in the tradition of her foremotherslike Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, Assia Djebar and Bessie HeadGyasi has created a marvelous work of fiction that both embraces and re writes history Paste Impressiveintricate in plot and scope Homegoingserves as a modern day reconstruction of lost and untold narrativesand a desire to move forward Miami HeraldHeart wrenching Yaa Gyasis assured Homegoing is a panorama of splendid faces Atlanta Journal Constitution A remarkable achievement, marking the arrival of a powerful new voice in fiction St Louis Post Dispatch Luminous The author thrillingly depicts her characters migrations from mud hut villages to Harlem s jazz clubs to Ghana s silvered beaches, celebrating how place and fate shape us all Oprah Epica timely, riveting portrayal of the global African Diasporaand the aftereffects that linger on to this day The Root An emotional, beautiful, and remarkable book Homegoing is stunninga truly heartbreaking work of literary genius Bustle An important, riveting page turner filled with beautiful prose, Homegoing shoots for the moon and lands right on it Buzzfeed


About the Author: Yaa Gyasi

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Homegoing book, this is one of the most wanted Yaa Gyasi author readers around the world.