Jesmyn Ward’s prize winning novel is constructed around a punishingly long road trip in Mississippi. Two children, Jojo and Kayla, go with their black mother to pick up their white father from prison. The family is joined by a pair of ghosts that only Jojo and his mother, Leonie, can sense. Sing, Unburied, Sing reflects upon the importance of history in examining the position of African American families today. Ismail Muhammad, a Slate writer based in Oakland, writes: "Sing, Unburied, Sing is an ornate ghost story about cultural memory, a parable for how history permeates the life of a community. Sing marks Ward as the sharpest voice in the contemporary conversation around the past’s relationship with the present and asks how black people can even begin to envision a future when the weight of history anchors them in ways they can scarcely begin to perceive."
If Ward is one of the “sharpest” voices in this conversation, Yaa Gyasi is one of the leading voices. The multi-generational stories of black families in Homegoing also push readers to more fully recognize the complicated history preceding today’s shameful racial landscape in the US.