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The Revisioners

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  969 ratings  ·  145 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.

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Kindle Edition, 288 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 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  969 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Angela M
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane S ☔
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ron Charles
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...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.
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 ...more
Read In Colour
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readsoullit, audio
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 ...more
Robert Blumenthal
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 ...more
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)

“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
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: need-to-own, library
I was held captive by this book. The gripping story of three generations of a black family from slavery to modern day, The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton tells the story of three generations of a black family, 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.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Erin (roostercalls)
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, &
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 very dangerous place. The
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a multi-generational novel, that follows several different timelines, beginning in the Civil War/slavery era, then into 1920s, New Orleans and then follows these descendants into current times. The author masterfully weaves these stories together, emphasizing the African American experience, and their constant struggle, witnessing very little change over the many turbulent, decades. An impressive work.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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 the cyclical nature
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Revisioners by author Margaret Wilkerson Sexton tells the story of two African American women who live in New Orleans a century apart. Josephine' s story is split between two timelines - 1855 when she is 12 years old, a slave and the daughter of a woman with a gift for making things happen and 1924 when she is a widow with land of her own and her own gift. Ava's story begins in 2017. She is bi-racial, Josephine's great-great-granddaughter, and the single mother of King, her 12 year old son.

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 ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book. Whew. A journey. So I knew I liked her prose from A Kind of Freedom but I was unprepared for my inability to put this book down for long. I almost never say this in real life but the book was stirring. It even had a perfect feel of horror, historical, and just plain amazing. I'm not overselling this. I want to buy this book for others and make them read it. FIVE STARS. NO NOTES.
Cassie (book__gal)
The Revisioners is storytelling at its finest. The weaving of multiple storylines and multiple generations into one centriole of love, lessons, inheritance, and often, pain. We follow Ava and Josephine, two women from the same family, with five generations in between them. One born into slavery and one a modern woman living in very different circumstances than her ancestor. Despite the generations between them, Ava and Josephine’s stories uncannily manage to converge on a similar course: one ...more
Casey the Reader
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
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 power over
Raven Ross
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Bruin Mccon
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-ebook
“But nobody taught me how to sit down.”

The Revisioners is a novel about a woman finding her way amidst a complicated family situation and her great-great-grandmother’s path from slavery to the 1920s.

There’s a lot that isn’t said in this book, which has a touch of fantasy mixed in. Ava is the daughter of a black mother and an absent white father. She’s divorced and her son’s father is also absent. Her mother is a doula. Her chapters tell of her struggles watching her son deal with racism and of
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