This fascinating novel opens in 18th century Ghana, whose residents are not just victims, but sometimes willing participants, in the slave trade with the English. Two sisters from different villages never meet, but they start a family tree whose branches are chronicled into the 20th century. Gyasi presents the stories of these characters so vividly; even as the decades race by you will feel an intimate connection with each one.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf Publishing Group, $26.95), recommended by Karen at Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.