Homegoing is a brisk but relentlessly bleak saga of the diaspora from Western Africa occasioned by the slave trade. Each section is narrated by a different narrator, generation after generation, both by those who stayed in Africa and those who were sold into slavery in the U.S. No cartoon villainy is depicted here; the evil -- and it inheres in both black and white characters, male and female -- is widespread and the resulting shattering of families and severing of ties with ancestors leaves many characters marooned in their own time. The “homegoing” in the title is the ultimately successful redemptive attempt to reconnect.
The novel is obviously a product of great research. Each era is portrayed with daunting particularity. The relentless stream of unhappy endings is tempered only by the passing on of a black stone talisman from generation to generation, which -- though not the most original symbol -- has sufficient gravity to anchor the novel in a bit of hope.