The Revisioners

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. Counterpoint, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64009-258-7
Sexton (A Kind of Freedom) returns with this excellent story of a New Orleans family’s ascent from slavery to freedom, paying poetic tribute to their fearlessness and a “mind magic” that fixes the present, sees into the future, and calls out from the past. In alternating chapters, two women tell their haunting, frightening, and ultimately uplifting stories: Ava, a mixed-race single mom struggling to establish a career and raise a teenage son in 2017, and her great-great-grandmother Josephine, a former slave who in 1924 proudly runs the family farm. Ava’s decision to be the caregiver for her rich white grandmother, Martha, as she slips into dementia will trigger disturbing premonitions for her own cancer-stricken mother, a doula named Gladys. Josephine’s story focuses largely on her struggle to turn over management of the family farm to a son intent on standing up to the Klan—and a troubling interaction with a shy white neighbor who seeks out Josephine’s rumored powers to get pregnant and appease an abusive husband. A chilling plot twist reveals the insidious racial divide that stretches through the generations, but it’s the larger message that’s so timely. “Ain’t no use in hate,” Josephine’s mother advises. “Whatever you trying to get away from, hate just binds you to it.” This novel is both powerful and full of hope. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/29/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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