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3.22  ·  Rating details ·  719 ratings  ·  151 reviews
A ferociously talented writer makes his stunning debut with this richly woven tapestry, set in a small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves, that depicts several generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time, and fate.

Structured as a triptych, Africaville chronicles the lives of three generations of the Sebolt family—Kath Ella, her son
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published December 10th 2019 by Amistad
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Jeffrey Colvin Thank you for your question. Africaville is not a strict retelling of the story of the Nova Scotia community, but an exploration of the themes of stru…moreThank you for your question. Africaville is not a strict retelling of the story of the Nova Scotia community, but an exploration of the themes of struggle, loss, and family that are part of its legacy. Having grown up in the segregated south where I witnessed the end of several black communities, I felt a connection to the stories about Africville, which I hope will continue to be told by those who know the community well. (less)

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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Africaville is the story of one family in three generations over time. As former slaves, the family settles in Nova Scotia.

The family members depicted are Kath Ella, her son, Omar/Etienne, and Kath Ella’s grandson, Warner. They experience the ups and downs of the twentieth century, which unfortunately had the family experiencing more than its share of downs, inclding hardship and turmoil.

Racial prejudices exist for each generation, which contributes further to the hardship. Eventually
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I will start by saying that learning about this real Black community in Nova Scotia was refreshing. Multigenerational stories are my favorite but this one fell flat for me.
I could not connect to any of these characters. They all felt like I was watching them through a glass window. The first point of view we get is from Kath Ella. It seems like the author struggled to write this female character. Her thoughts and actions just didn’t seem believable. I noticed this trend throughout the book. Thes
I thought the premise of this sounded so interesting - three generations of the Sebolt family are highlighted in a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada. The Sebolt family and other residents of the town settled there after they were freed from the American South, or were transported from the West Indies. I live in Buffalo, NY so Canada is a stone's throw away, but don't recall learning about this community and wanted to learn more about it.

I thought this was a very solid effort and enjoyed it, but
A saga from Jamaica to Nova Scotia where a village community grows into Africaville. There is an arc of this story that springs up and over and down, like Noah’s rainbow – colored by the different families that mix and mingle and create a new family line. Starting out dark-skinned, with all the trials and tribulations piled on by society, the descendants at story’s end find a surprise as they reach back for family. Reacquainting, redefining and revisiting the prejudices of persons, places and co ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin

Starting in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1918, this family saga carries us to 1992 with the complexities of four generations living in Canada and the U.S. It is centered around a neighborhood eventually named Africaville.

The entire story is about people being judged by where they live or lived and go to school. Heavy emphasis is placed on where to be buried, of accepting or not accepting their own race (black “passing” as white), loyalty to family and who to visit or not
Alicia Allen
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an unedited advanced DRC from Above the Treeline. Thank you to Amistad Publishing for allowing me to read this book for a review.

I have always hungered to know more about my ancestors and where they came from. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my identity as an American of obvious African descent. I am relatively certain that my ancestors came to North America through the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, I just have no idea of where we were taken and how we got to where we a
Donna Davis
My thanks go to Net Galley and HarperCollins for the review copy; after publication, I used an audio book to finish it, thanks to Seattle Bibliocommons. It's available to the public now.

There are two reasons I was drawn to this story. The first is the setting, which is primarily in Nova Scotia's Black community. I have never read or heard a story set there, and so I was intrigued. There's also a Civil Rights Movement tie-in, and for me, that sealed the deal.

The book starts out as a rough read,
Apr 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Somewhere I got lost in this story - it all became very convoluted and even though I went back to re-read it didn't help. This book had so much potential and it makes me sad that I didn't enjoy it.
This book was a disappointment. I had high hopes, which were quickly dashed by plot holes, characters with little depth, and difficult to follow transitions between scenes. Despite its fascinating premise and the many narrative possibilities of following a members of a family through the early 1900s to the 1990s, the narrative didn't deliver, and couldn't sustain my interest.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Comparison is seriously the theft of joy.
I went into this expecting something like Yaa Gyasi's "Homegoing" and instead I got a series of incredibly flat and slightly unbelievable characters. Not a single decision truly made sense to me, and not a single character's thoughts/actions lined up - it was just too all over the place.
However, I will say that it was pretty dope to learn about the community of Africaville (Africville) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. As an African-American, I'm always i
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you publisher and Netgalley for this book to review. I’ve attempted several times to get into this book but I struggled again and again. I couldn’t get into this book. I’m sorry.! It had nothing to do with the content. I believe it was the authors writing style that I had a hard time with.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read all of my reviews at

3.5/5 stars

Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin is a fictional, generational story that centers on the Sebolt and Platt families. Over the course of nearly 400 pages, the author takes us on a journey of this black family and their struggles with race, gender and other societal issues. The result is a detailed and creative novel based on historical facts that were well researched by the author.

My reading journey with this book started slowly. It was a little
Madeline Nixon
Mar 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to read a story about Africville, this is not it. This is an American story set in Canada without fully knowing Canadian history. Had the book not been named Africville or Halifax been mentioned several times, you would not know it was actually in Africville. There are so many terrible things that actually happened to the Africville community that could have made a point and a good story, but instead we get this very Americanized story that does not fit with Canadian history. I can’t ...more
Laurie Burns
Oh I was so disappointed with this one.
I asked for it for Christmas, as I live near Africville, have been to the museum, talk about this history a lot with my students and couldn't wait to read this historical novel.

But..... the writing is very disjointed, I found it very hard to get into any of the characters.
Everything seemed so abrupt, and with no feeling behind how any of the characters got to the decisions they made or why they made the decisions they made. Also awful, awful sex scenes.

Tamara Drummond
Feb 08, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Being from Nova Scotia and an African Nova Scotian I was so excited to see a book written about a place I grew up hearing about from my Dad. I was excited to see someone wrote this story of a thriving African Nova Scotian community destroyed by racism.

Commence the horror. This had to be the worse book that I have ever read. This book in no way captured the history of Africville. The characters were not well developed the story it was trying to tell fell short. I would have stopped reading this m
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really struggled to get through this book. There is the premise of a great story here, but the book itself feels like the storyboard plan. The characters are not developed and remain one-dimensional throughout the story. Characters are dropped off and new ones picked up without satisfying conclusions or explanations. It seemed like it was a multitude of borderline intertwined short stories, even within the same chapter. Overall, I was really looking forward to reading this but was only left wi ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book confused me. While a family saga, it managed to move forward in time in choppy, unexpected fashion as it followed a Black family in Halifax from the 1930s to more recent times. As new characters were encountered, the story would move back in time to show the family history. Because I was listening to this book, the suddenness of the time and situational changes was very much a challenge. Added to this was my difficulty in caring about anyone. I'd swear some of these people were aging a ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
So much in this book - more usually is less but here, less left me wanting more. That there was a vibrant community of blacks in Halifax after the war, settled by escaped slaves and others, was news. Who wouldn't want to learn more? Then we meet the Sebold family and the ways in which family history and identity can change over the generations, sometimes wittingly and sometimes not. And again, more, please. This story lost points because the elisions and the lack of opportunity to explore the qu ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of three generations of the Seabolt family, descendants former slaves who settles in Wind Bluff, Nova Scotia. Legend has it that some of the first settlers back in the 18th century were American slaves who had been put on a ship headed back to Africa that was lost at sea, and these souls made their way back to shore.

By the time the story begins, it's the 1930s, and many newer residents have moved north to look for work and escape from the Jim Crow South. Kath Ella Seabolt has
Amy’s Booket List
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that you know is going to be important and you know is going to be good. When you open the cover, you know you are going to be affected. Somehow, the author is going to reach into your heart and mind and make an imprint, whether or not you want them to. Do you know what I mean?

It's also a book that I feel will be polarizing for some because it doesn't necessarily follow a traditional story telling path. Jeffrey Colvin chose to tell a more nuanced story through the memo
Charlene Carr
I picked up this book wanting to love it. It wasn't quite what I expected it to be. Although I was always interested to see where it would go, with each transition I felt a bit of a let down. I also found some of the description and dialogue to be very stilted and dry.

All that said, I don't regret reading it. Despite not falling in love with or caring deeply about any of the characters, something about it drew me in. It was told, for the most part, in a very factual matter that although somewhat
Shaelene (aGirlWithBookss)
This is a generational saga following the lives of 3 different generations of the same family that started out in Africville, Nova Scotia.
I read this for Black History month on a whim and I must say I really enjoyed this.
I’m white, I live in Nova Scotia and this was a real eye-opener for me. Africville was something we were never taught about in school, in fact, I only found out about it a few years ago while watching the local news.
I really enjoyed following these character on their journeys,
thoughts to come 3.5

I liked this quite a bit. I'm not sure how to take many of the other reviews that don't like the third person narrative - mostly because I've read so many other similar takes on both second person and first and omniscient, it seems everyone has a favorite and dislikes others.

So I didn't mind that. It did take me too long to really "get into" this one and I nearly gave up once because I thought it wasn't for me. Soon after that, I was sucked into this family's saga, and I app
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
First of all, for some reason the audiobook is called Africaville, while the paper edition is called
Africville, which is the correct name of the community. No idea why there is this discrepancy.

I enjoyed the first part of the book as it told the story of two sisters. There are a lot of details in the story that do not accurately reflect the facts about Africville, but perhaps the author had his reasons for making those choices. I’m not sure why so much information has been changed; I don’t think
DNF @ 9 hrs 28 mins or ~77% into the audiobook.

I listed to this audiobook on the plane ride back from my Vancouver trip and fell asleep. So I replayed the chapters that I missed to give it a second chance, and just couldn't get into it because it was so boring.

I initially picked this book because I remember learning about Africville for Black History Month back in elementary school because a few of my classmates were of African-Nova Scotian descent. As such, I always believed that Africville was
The Artisan Geek
Nov 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
A sincere thank you to Amistad for gifting me a copy of Africaville :)

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Jun 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the intergenerational family story and the different lenses each character looked through about the concept of race, but I was expecting this novel to be more directly about Africville than it was, so I was kind of disappointed.

A lot of the writing is in a kind of detached style that sometimes made it hard to connect with the characters, and every depiction of a love affair was viscerally unpleasant.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I know this book has received high marks, however, I just did not care for Colvin's writing style. I certainly don't expect stories to take a linear path, but this story is all over the place, changing time periods and locations sometimes from paragraph to paragraph.

I only completed it for the history of Nova Scotia and the black communities who lived there. The themes of race, justice and redemption are well-portrayed.

An ambitious novel from a historical perspective, but the writing lacks flo
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rounded up; it had trouble keeping my attention. I loved the beginning and parts later on...but it spanned so much time that I found it hard to get back into it. It was interesting, and I might have enjoyed it more if I was focused and read it in print or ebook vs the audiobook edition. The narrator was good, though.
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Jeffrey was born and raised in Alabama, but now lives in New York City where he has been teaching and doing grant writing for small community-based arts organizations.
His debut novel, Africaville, was published in December 2019 by Amistad/HarperCollins USA. The novel is also being published in Canada, France, and Australia.
An excerpt of Africaville appeared in Narrative magazine, and his other fic

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