Why this book?
This book is, for me, the African Beloved (Toni Morrison). Just as Morrison delves into the interior lives of enslaved people, Gyasi’s concern is not with the history of slavery per se, but history as an evasive force in the lives of individuals. What I love about this book is its settings in historical sites of enslavement, namely Cape Coast (coastal Ghana) and the United States. In Gyasi’s portrayal of life among an African society, she gives readers opportunities to imagine African life before slavery and to really consider how the trade in flesh impacted individuals and communities. Gyasi doesn’t stop there: by following characters as enslaved persons from Africa to the Americas, she juxtaposes the convergences and divergences in the African and African American experiences of slavery and consequently, its afterlives.