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The Revisioners

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  145 ratings  ·  36 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.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Counterpoint
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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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
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
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.
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
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 Josephine’s daugh ...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
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review; opinions are my own.

This book, simply put, is an example of extremely good storytelling. It reads like a suspense novel, a family epic, and historical fiction at once, and is one of the most well-paced novels I've ever read.

The Revisioners’ protagonists are mainly women, but a vital pillar of this story is that of women raising sons, specifically Black women raising Black boys in America, which is a ve
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
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’
Wow wow wow. I need to come up with something coherent to say about this book by Tuesday, but for now, I'm just going to sit with my immense & intense feels.

edit to add:
I couldn't put The Revisioners down once I picked it up last week! It's an inter-generational tale focusing on the women of a Louisiana Black family, from Ava in 2017 to her great-great-great-great grandma Josephine in 1924, and then to 10-year old Josephine in 1855 who is still a slave. Sexton highlights th
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton writes her characters with such clarity and moving spirit, infusing them with power and insight. The storytelling was literally breathtaking--more than once I gasped, hand to my chest as past and present collided, as Ava and her great, great grandmother Josephine navigated the seen and unseen. A tribute to women, to history on repeat, and to the desire for freedom across time.

ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Charlotte (charandbooks)
I finished THE REVISIONERS and once again Margaret Wilkerson Sexton has managed to put a lot into a relatively short novel. The two women who are the main characters are well fleshed out and illustrate how the legacy of the violent treatment of Black people in the United States still does affect families through generations to this day - how they are viewed, treated, and spoken to/about, even by presumably friendly neighbors or loved ones. Wilkerson Sexton is able to write different point of vie ...more
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
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Beautifully told from 2 perspectives in time, Josephine, formerly enslaved and her descendant, Ava. What this really captures are the voices of those who don’t traditionally have a voice, the ones whose presence have been erased in time as well as the difficult history as to what those voices say. Despite being separated by generations, both women are united in parental love as well as problematic relations with white people who sub (or not) consciously attempt to exert pow
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 o
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Sexton's sophomore work follows A Kind of Freedom both thematically and stylistically. She has all but mastered the ability to express her views and those of her characters in short novels using a style of prose that is uniquely her own. Here she creates a multi-generational tale (not unlike Freedom) of New Orleans women who have in one manner or another suffered under the yolk of white supremacy. The slavery (1855) and Jim Crow (1924) segments are narrated by Josephine and the modern day remnan ...more
Raven Ross
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The historical impalement of time and circumstances are the bones of this epic familial story. The women in this novel are faced with irresistible opportunities and haunting sacrifices. Josephine, a past runaway slave during the start of Jim Crow and KKK uprisings, is now a grandmother trying to make the best decisions for her family. From present time, Ava is a single mother in New Orleans who is wanting to create better opportunities for her son. The Revisioners seeks to give grace to these Bl ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton is one of those novels that I believe will fall under the radar for too long and everyone will be stunned as it rises to become a literary classic. I can see this novel standing the test of time and truly being a classic, and I'm so happy I managed to read it as soon as it came out. It's been a while since I've read a powerful story with a primary focus on the relationships of women, especially within a family dynamic. There are so many highs and lows ...more
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
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wilkerson Sexton proves that words are spells in #TheRevisioners

The story is told from two perspectives, the ancestor and the descendant. The story exposes the intimate synapses of relationships of women connected by bloodlines, marriage, and location (and mothers and their daughters, and mothers and their sons, and mothers-in-law and their daughters-in-law 🙃).

More importantly, the story exposes the power of accepting the call to ascend into our higher selves by not giving it away t
Angelene Mcdaniel

Just finished it! I'm giving it 5 stars since the story line is staying with me even afterwards. Sexton created authentic characters with Ava, Gladys, and Josephine, and I felt the pain from their struggles too. Painful, but overall not a sad read, but one that makes you feel strongly about family at the end. I did get some Octavia Butler vibes and I won't complain about that. I'd join a book club just to hash out who was who (found out about this book release through WRBG). Very intere
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it

The Revisioners is the story of a woman in modern day New Orleans, a biracial woman who goes, with her black son, to live with and take care of her ailing, rich, white grandmother. It's also the story of the woman's great-great-something-grandmother, who was born a slave and built a new life for herself--until new neighbors come and complicate things. And mostly it's the story of families, the stories we tell ourselves, and racial and class tensions in the South. A bittersweet and movin
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
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In a word.....REMARKABLE!!
Sexton's newest novel hits you right in the gut! Remarkable writing and storytelling.
In this multigenerational novel we meet two mothers at different stages in their lives, both deeply affected by racism and white privilege. This was one of the best books I have read this year hands down! Beautiful and affecting. Your going to want to read this noteworthy novel ASAP it's available November 5th!

Thank You to the publisher for sending me this #arc opini
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s a book that takes some time to get into and with the jumps between eras it can feels disjointed and confusing but STICK WITH IT because it really hits its stride around page 130 and all the pieces come together and it will move you and break your heart and build it back up again. It’s a story of generations of women in one family from the mid 1800s to the 1920s to present day and how they guide each other in spirit and intuition. I have a feeling when this book comes out in November it will ...more
Linda Bond
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Revisioners is a multi-generational, multi-cultural story of women caught up in the tides of history and cultural change. It’s a moving story as well as a mini-history and should be an excellent candidate for book group discussions. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in how we got here and where we’re going.
Janet Lynch
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This book jumped around in time. Josephine in 1855, a child slave, living on a plantation. Josephine in 1924, free now with her own farm. But is she really free? Ava, her descendent, in 2017. Still dealing with prejudice. I’m not really sure how I felt about this book. I never felt I really got to know Ava as a character. She was as lost to me as she was to herself.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
You have to go into this book with some patience. It is well written as it jumps from timelines for you to understand, we are what we are, from those who came before us. Yes it is about slaves, the history of family and the connection to today with a touch of folk medicine and magic. A good read yes indeed.

I won a ARC from Goodreads and Counterpoint Press.
Hmmm, I've had a hardback copy of this for *weeks*, yet I just saw it on a list of books that come out today (5 Nov 2019.) I suppose my favorite little bookstore accidentally put a ton of these on the table early - b/c I bought it in October. I'll review it when I get a chance. But for now - very pretty cover. I couldn't resist once I had it in my hands (also - it's Margaret Wilkerson Sexton!)
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Riveting, fantastic, clear, and well-written. This review stated it perfectly. “The novel proves that even if she is not with you, your mother (and her mother too) is not only part of you, but is you. You hear her voice echo through your own. You feel her expression creep onto your own face. She has something to pass onto you.”
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