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The Revisioners

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,610 ratings  ·  476 reviews
In 1925, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free herself from slavery. Now, her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine's family.

Nearly one hund
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Hardcover, 280 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Counterpoint
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Carrolet No, she was not. She was the child that Jupiter helped to escape. As a woman, she was married to Isaiah (as I remember it) who was deceased at time of…moreNo, she was not. She was the child that Jupiter helped to escape. As a woman, she was married to Isaiah (as I remember it) who was deceased at time of the telling of this story. (less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  3,610 ratings  ·  476 reviews


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Angela M
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5
Sometimes it’s startling to see how much history is so much a part of the present. This is a powerful story about how the prejudice of the past has in many ways not dissipated as some may think and as many of us hoped. Narrated in multiple time frames by two black women, separated by generations, but connected as family and as is evident at the end by so much more. Ava in 2017, divorced with a teenaged son, is down and out having lost her job and struggling to make ends meet . She decides to
...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
Strong mother, daughter bonds. They were once slaves, but a future generation will own their own property. In Louisiana, how free is actually free when one is black, even if they do own land of their own? Slavery, escaping from slavery and a freedom that is not in only the seems but for these women, in the unseen as well. A power passed down to future daughters. The lasting effects of slavery and the power and barbarity of the KKK.

The novel is clearly written, powerfully written and though it mo
...more
Elyse  Walters
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very a special book—powerful, riveting, and moving.

Wilkerson weaves the past and present together seamlessly — a first hand look at racism —
black and white prejudices, identity, privileges, inequality, culture, religious beliefs, mysticism (occasional prayers & hymns throughout), oppression, freedom, and healing....
through women’s relationships... and their
...families
...children & grandchildren
...marriages
...motherhood
...community
and
...friendships.

Two African-American women connected by
...more
Taylor Reid
Jul 09, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
This is one of those books where I just want to press it into your hands and say, “Read it.” It’s beautifully written with lush characters in both Josephine and her great-great-grandaughter Ava, the two women whose storylines cut back and forth throughout the novel. It’s about how the world changes—or doesn't change—over generations, and particularly the complexities of relationships between Black women and white women. But what stands out to me the most are the lines so good and so chilling tha ...more
Lisa
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
The Revisioners jumps between three timelines - 2017, 1924 and 1855. I was most interested in the present day narrative of Ava, a single bi-racial mother who moves with her son to her white grandmother's home. Yet the novel became increasingly scattered and I became increasingly confused. Slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, doulas, magical realism, a young boy's struggles at school, a grandmother's senility - all in 276 pages. I think the author is trying to make a connection between the present and the ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton bowled me over with her first novel, A KIND OF FREEDOM, a deeply resonant novel about three generations of a Black New Orleans family. Her second novel, THE REVISIONERS, also moves through time but over an even greater span: from 1855 to 1925 to 2017. At first it seems these periods could not be more different for Black women in the South, but even across such vast changes there is much that stays the same. This book is, above all, a love letter to the traditions Black ...more
Ron Charles
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
“We have a ghost in here.”

That’s how Toni Morrison writes in “Beloved” about the spiteful specter that haunts an old house in Cincinnati.

Her artful invocation of that ghost remains incomparable but also widely relevant to the history of African Americans in this country. The spiritual practices that kidnapped Africans carried with them to the United States affirmed the immanent presence of their ancestors. The trauma of the Civil War inflamed white Americans’ interest in spiritualism. And Klansm
...more
Bobbieshiann
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story is like a string you come across that is so long you keep following it until you find out what’s at the end. A story where Black women narrate it and give you feelings of strength and courage. Black women raising their sons in the age were rap music is questionable and a time where looking a white man in the eyes is considered a “crime”.

You are nurtured throughout this story as the past and the present collide in a powerful way in one families lineage. There is limited sympathy towar
...more
Kathleen
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This multigenerational story focuses on Ava in 2017; and Josephine in 1924 and as a child in 1855. Both black women are mothers seeking freedom for their families while navigating white privilege and entrenched racism before the Civil War, after Reconstruction and even today. Ava and Josephine survive a society seeking to deny them dignity. [The author helps their efforts with a little magical realism every once in a while.]

Wilkerson Sexton creates wonderful characters that will stick with you.
...more
Brown Girl Reading
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2,5

Sadly The Revisioners wasn't at all what I had hoped. Story told through 3 timelines: 2017/1924/1855.
Sexton uses these 3 timelines to talk about the same family. These there parallel stories discuss slavery, reconstruction, and modern day where similar themes of race and relationships between blacks and whites. The book is fairly short so the characters aren't developed enough for my taste. Not only the storylines aren't that special. Sexton's writing style is not bad but the plethora
...more
Nursebookie
This riveting novel, The Revisioners was told in two crucial point of views and in three pivoting time lines that feature two African-American women - Ava and Josephine, who are connected by blood, and whose stories span over 160 years from the 1850’s through 1920’s, and finally in current day New Orleans, 2017.

This is a story of a family that for generations had been penetrated by deeply ingrained racism. This is a timely story that the readers will connect with and the reason why our black co
...more
Jessie
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton was incredible. This multigenerational novels follows two mothers (one in two different periods of her life, in childhood and old age, in bondage and free, which, just, wow) whose power, even their inherited ancestral magic, is sucked dry by the ravening maw of racism, both the structural kind, but also the deeply deeply personal variety. This book examines childhood and motherhood in the impossible world of America that punishes Black people for exis ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s The Revisioners taps into the gifts, glories, and gospels of three generations of Black women who, in the face of slavery and its vestiges, must reckon with matters of faith and trust. The book shifts between chapters told by Ava, an out-of-work single mother living in 2017 New Orleans, and her great-grandmother Josephine — both from her time as a widowed self-made farmer in 1925 and in her youth on the plantation in 1855. Then there is Gladys, Ava’s mother and Joseph ...more
Meera
This novel moved between three timelines: mid 1800's, early 1900's and current time. Each story line was compelling in its own way and the pacing was done well. My issue with this book was with the characterizations and the sometimes, the writing. I didn't really like Josephine the elder or her descendant, Ava. Josephine was often harsh and seemed to lack empathy for some members of her family. The same could be said of Ava with her mother. Ava's description of her relationship with her mother p ...more
Rachel Watkins
Margaret Sexton Wilkerson’s THE REVISIONERS is a tribute, a prayer, a triumphant cry of gratitude to those who came before us. The intergenerational memories and desire for freedom and survival push Ava forward when things get hard. Moving into her grandmother’s house with her son seems to be a temporary fix, but she has no idea the legacy she has inherited. THE REVISIONERS honors with reverence the histories of those who had no voice.
Arlene
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, readsoullit
I really, really liked this book. It was touching, gripping. I even like the back and forth of the time jumping. I loved the connection between Josephine and Ava and their relationships with their mothers and I even saw myself and my mother's relationship reflected here. But I will say that they only thing that I didn't really vibe with was the way the book ended. I was left with so many questions, SO MANY questions. What happened with Josephine and her neighbors? What happened with Ava and Gran ...more
Maxwell
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-authors
[2.5 stars]
This had great potential, but I felt that it was underdeveloped. Not a lot of time is spent in the build-up to events that could potentially be very powerful and moving. However, they lose their strength when the story rushes to a conclusion that doesn't feel earned. I also felt like way more time was spent on Josephine's story than Ava's, so the balance was off making the Ava sections feel sort of like a second thought. Good writing and a good structure, but the execution left someth
...more
Read In Colour
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
You know how you finish a book and rate it right away, but then you wake up the next day after you've had time to sleep on that book and you're like, no, that book wasn't really a 5 star, it's more of a 4 star? That's me with The Revisioners.

I love the way Margaret Wilkerson Sexton travels back and forth between two different eras and two different protagonists. She did it really well in A Kind of Freedom and does it fairly well in The Revisioners, except when I woke up thinking about the story
...more
Allyson
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Christine
The Revisioners tells the stories of two women separated by generations, yet linked by history. Ava, a single, biracial mom to adolescent son King, moves into the New Orleans mansion of her white grandmother, Martha. Ava needs to shore up her finances after losing her job and Martha, elderly and frail, needs a caregiver. This new and awkward reality is contrasted with the story of Ava's great-great-great grandmother, Josephine, in alternating chapters with Josephine as a young slave in 1855 and ...more
Rena
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: need-to-own, library
I was held captive by this book. The gripping story of a black family from slavery to modern day, The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton tells the story of three generations where the women are the focal point, the healers, the strength to their survival. I still have questions about how the book ends, but Sexton's writing is so beautiful and harrowing. And the white women in this book, my God.
Robert Blumenthal
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There have been a number of Black women authors who are trending in modern day reading circles, and Margaret Wilkerson Sexton is a very worth addition to this grouping. In a Toni Morrison (Beloved) influenced style she covers the lives of Josephine in both 1855 and 1924, and her great-great-great granddaughter Ava in 2017. In 1855, Josephine is a young girl slave at one of the more humanely run plantations in Louisiana, though it is not without its cruelty. Her mother is trying to organize a pla ...more
Camie
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A work of sweeping historical fiction sprinkled with magical realism and healing powers. This is the story of strong black women over the generations who struggle to overcome the obstacles of their times including slavery and racial injustice which culminates in the life of Ava their modern ancestor who as a single mother is trying to find a place for her son in the world.
This is my first read by Sexton but I’m adding her previous book to my TBR, and I look forward to her future endeavors.
4.5 s
...more
Camryn
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Jesus, this was so amazing and full and gorgeous. I've been interested in a lot of the topics explored in this, but the way the author pulled everything together was so amazing. I couldn't stop reading. It's SO GOOD.
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“I’m just tired. I’m just so, so tired. I’m tired of carrying it. I want somebody else to carry it for a minute. It never lets up. It’s like somebody’s fingers pinching me on the inside of my chest, and it won’t ease up…”
.
Those who read and enjoyed A Kind of Freedom will be pleased to know that Sexton’s latest release, The Revisioners, is now available.
.
This is a female-driven narrative following two women across three distinct time periods—we follow Josephine in both 1855 and 1924, and Ava in
...more
Jonathan
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Revisioners is a heartbreaking novel that left me wanting more, not more from the story or the writing, just more of the rich powerful display of women, both marginalized and privileged. Sexton has written a book that reads with the pace of a thriller and the beauty of a modern classic. Told in three generations, centered around two women, Josephine in 1865 living on a plantation in Louisiana as a child and a slave, she befriends the owners young daughter, neither of them seeing the differen ...more
Erin (roostercalls)
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
I’ve been thinking about Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s THE REVISIONERS since I read it 3 months ago. Last Friday, as I sat listening to Ibram Kendi & Ta-Nehisi Coates discuss his new novel The Water Dancer, it was almost ALL I could think about. It was so pertinent to the conversation that I was dying to ask either man if they’d read it yet.

THE REVISIONERS ensnared me with a tantalizing foreboding from its opening pages, though nothing terribly foreboding is happening in them: it’s 2017, & Ava is
...more
Kathy
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I am less a fan of this author than most people, and I'm not sure why that is. To be truly honest, I don't actually understand why others like her so much.

This is a book that alternates between two stories - Josephine, a strong woman, born as a slave who ended up as a successful farmer and midwife and her great-granddaughter, Ava, who is struggling as a single mother who was laid off from a career as a paralegal.

Josephine is a quarter Caucasian as her father was the son of the plantation master.
...more
Carolyn
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I did not find this book particularly powerful or impactful. At less than 300 pages, the alternating narratives did not leave a lot of room for character development, and some of the dialogue verged on trite. Also, the magical realism was not fully explored, seemingly tacked on for effect. I think there are many finer books about intergenerational trauma and white supremacy.
Casey the Reader
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Counterpoint Press for the free advance copy of this book.

THE REVISIONERS follows two women from three time periods - Josephine, both during and after her enslavement, and 100 years later, her descendant Ava. Josephine, in 1925, lives on land she used to work, and strikes up an uneasy friendship with her new white woman neighbor. Ava, in 2015, is a single mother who moves in with her white grandmother - fraught, as she is the mother of a black boy around an old woman slowly losing her
...more
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“He's a black man in this world," Major has scolded me. "You got him used to sweetness when life gon' be tart.” 2 likes
“Now, hate,” she started, “ain’t no use in hate, Josie. Ain’t no use in hate,” she repeated. “Whatever you trying to get away from, hate just binds you to it. You find, even when you think you found a way out, God will bring it back to you, slap you right in the face with it. Where you thought it had gone missing. So don’t ever say hate.” 1 likes
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