The Revisioners

Counterpoint. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781640092587. $25. F
In her second novel (following the National Book Award long-listed A Kind of Freedom), Sexton weaves well-crafted intergenerational narratives, each set in a different era and each giving voice to strong women of color. Ava, a single, multiracial mother, lives in post-Katrina New Orleans with her son, King. After struggling to make ends meet, she moves in with her aging grandmother, a white woman who has begun to show signs of dementia. Sexton’s other narrative tells the story of Ava’s not-so-distant ancestor Josephine at two different points in her life. As a child, Josephine was enslaved on a plantation prior to the Civil War along with her parents. As an older woman, she is devoted to her family’s successful farm, though she is occasionally sought for her expertise as a conjurer.
VERDICT The dynamics of a brutal past encompassing violence and racial inequality is core here, but the narrative is significant for acknowledging that elements of that past are not completely past and for portraying two fearless women separated by time but both dealing with white women’s racism. Recommended for all collections.
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