My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A heartfelt intergenerational journey across two centuries of American history told from the perspective of two women, Ava & Josephine, whose families are victims of racism. The author uses the term "recycled racism" to describe their suffering, and it's precise. There are three narratives. Josephine is the daughter of a family in the antebellum South who are escaping slavery at Wildwood. She is also much later the matriarch of a family whose white neighbor wishes to befriend her (before she gets all kkklanish and sees Josephine as a beggar at the door). Ava, some 90 years later, also must dodge the strange demands of her white racist grandmother.
Sexton does an amazing job of tracing the parallels of the paths of these two women. The prose combines pure poetry with a coarse heartbreaking tone that is soul-crushing. The characters become your old friends. It is sometimes hard going (because you know the doom is growing every page you turn) but every turn is worth it.
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