“I was mesmerized by The Revisioners, a time-bending epic about family, desire, strength, and terror, as well as the possibly supernatural power of the stories we tell ourselves. Was mesmerized? Am mesmerized, will remain mesmerized. Sexton’s novel is extraordinary, and its effects will go on and on.”
—R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
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 hundred years later, Josephine’s descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays her grandchild to be her companion. But Martha’s behavior soon becomes erratic, then even threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine’s converge.
The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between a mother and a child, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.
“This second novel from Sexton confirms the storytelling gifts she displayed in her lushly readable debut, A Kind of Freedom . . . At the intriguing crossroads of the seen and the unseen lies a weave among five generations of women.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
MARGARET WILKERSON SEXTON, born and raised in New Orleans, studied creative writing at Dartmouth College and law at UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, "A Kind of Freedom," was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, and was the recipient of the First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.
“[A] powerful, deeply personal second novel . . . It’s rare for dual narratives to be equally compelling, and Sexton achieves this while illustrating the impact of slavery long after its formal end. Nurturing, motherhood, and pregnancy rise up as important themes. Readers will engage fully in this compelling story of African American women who have power
in a culture that attempts to dismantle it.”
“Sexton’s follow-up to her National Book Award–nominated debut, A Kind of Freedom, tackles generational legacies, the echoes of history, and strength of bonds between women.”
—Emily Temple, Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year
“Margaret Wilkerson Sexton is able to create this family dynamic in such a short space. But she also tackles a lot of difficult topics. And since she is an African American woman writer, she often tackles topics around race and families and those dynamics and the way that she’s able to bring that to the table. Like in A Kind of Freedom, she featured New Orleans. And then over the course of generations, she eventually got to a post-Katrina New Orleans. And she just wove together this beautiful story about family and characters. She is one I want to watch.”
—Kendra Winchester, Literary Hub, Reading Women’s Most Anticipated Books of the Year
“This elegant and powerful novel sweeps you up from the very first page, spanning the last gasps of slavery to the present day. The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton plunges you deep within the complexity of a Louisiana family as the echoes of history repeat over generations and provides a powerful testament to the ingenuity and resilience of women protecting themselves and those they love in an unyielding world.”
—Lalita Tademy, New York Times bestselling author of Cane River, Red River, and Citizens Creek