Ambitious and Astonishing: Homegoing

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is hugely ambitious in every way a book can be – it tackles the history of the slave trade, the story stretches across 400 years, it alternates its setting between two continents and has a different central character for each chapter. Given this scale of ambition, the book doesn’t always hit its mark, however it is a powerful, haunting read that will stay with me for years.

Poverty and choice in the Glass Castle

How we define poverty and attribute its causes will largely be determined by our political tendencies. Those with right-wing affiliations tend to see poverty as a result of personal choice:  people in poverty choose to have drug dependencies or enter into destructive relationships or, though a series of bad personal choices, end up in low paying jobs.  People on the left pin it on structural causes where society in general, and capitalism in particular, have failed its citizens.  The Glass Castle is a powerful exposition of this debate, and through excellent storytelling we’re compelled to reflect on the relationship between poverty and choice, as well as the bonds that hold families together.