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A Kind of Freedom: A Novel
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Published:
Catapult 2017
Lexile measure:
860L
Status:
Checked Out
Description
Long-listed for the National Book Award Winner of the Crook's Corner PrizeWinner of the First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association A New York Times Notable Book "Brilliantly juxtaposing World War II, the '80s and post-Katrina present, Sexton follows three generations of a black New Orleans family as they struggle to bloom amid the poison of racism." —People Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. In 1982, Evelyn's daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband's drug addiction. Jackie's son, T.C., loves the creative process of growing marijuana more than the weed itself. He was a square before Hurricane Katrina, but the New Orleans he knew didn't survive the storm. For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's critically acclaimed debut is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/01/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781640090026
ASIN:
B0719CK9DM
Lexile measure:
860
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. (2017). A Kind of Freedom: A Novel. Catapult.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. 2017. A Kind of Freedom: A Novel. Catapult.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, A Kind of Freedom: A Novel. Catapult, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. A Kind of Freedom: A Novel. Catapult, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:20:46
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Born and raised in New Orleans, MARGARET WILKERSON SEXTON studied creative writing at Dartmouth and law at UC Berkeley. A recipient of the Lombard fellowship, she spent a year in the Dominican Republic working for a civil rights organization and writing her first manuscript, A Kind of Freedom, which received an honorable mention in the Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest. Her stories have been published or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Limestone Journal, and Broad! Magazine, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
      • name: Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
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fullDescription
Long-listed for the National Book Award
Winner of the Crook's Corner Prize
Winner of the First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association
A New York Times Notable Book
"Brilliantly juxtaposing World War II, the '80s and post-Katrina present, Sexton follows three generations of a black New Orleans family as they struggle to bloom amid the poison of racism." —People

Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. In 1982, Evelyn's daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband's drug addiction. Jackie's son, T.C., loves the creative process of growing marijuana more than the weed itself. He was a square before Hurricane Katrina, but the New Orleans he knew didn't survive the storm. For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's critically acclaimed debut is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.
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      • value: Grade 5
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: People
      • content: "Brilliantly juxtaposing World War II, the '80s and post–Katrina present, Sexton follows three generations of a black New Orleans family as they struggle to bloom amid the poison of racism. The author's deep knowledge of her city and unerring ear for dialogue help bring her unforgettable characters to life."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice
      • content: "This luminous and assured first novel shines an unflinching, compassionate light on three generations of a black family in New Orleans, emphasizing endurance more than damage."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Washington Post
      • content: "Sexton’s first novel is set in New Orleans from the mid–1940s to the city’s ruthless real estate makeover years after Hurricane Katrina. Delivered by three accomplished narrators, the story moves through three generations of a black family, starting with the daughter of a pioneering doctor and his Creole wife, who have set themselves against her marrying the hard–working son of a janitor. This moving debut is ingeniously told in its passage back and forth through lives and changing times."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from June 5, 2017
        Set in Sexton’s native New Orleans, this emotionally wrenching, character-rich debut spans three generations in a city deeply impacted by segregation, economic inequality, and racial tensions. It begins with a 1940s romance between Evelyn, the eldest daughter in a relatively well-off Creole family, and Renard, the son of a janitor, whose dreams are bigger than his station in life can hold. Their daughter, Jackie, becomes a mother in the Reagan-era 1980s, struggling through the economic downturn that derails her husband’s promising career and starts him on a tumultuous path of addiction and empty promises. Their grandson, T.C., lives through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, watching it transform his city—and himself—into something unfamiliar. Yet when his ambitions falter, he braces himself with the need to be present in his newborn son’s life in the way his father never was. Sexton’s narrative navigates complex topics with an adroit sensitivity that lends sympathy to each character’s realistic, if occasionally self-destructive, motivations. Being able to capture 70 years of New Orleans history and the emotional changes in one family in such a short book is a testament to Sexton’s powers of descriptive restraint. In this fine debut, each generation comes with new possibilities and deferred dreams blossoming with the hope that this time, finally, those dreams may come to fruition. Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 1, 2017
        A multigenerational exploration of systemic racism in America.Evelyn is 22 and studying to be a nurse. Her family is well-known in New Orleans' 7th Ward. Her mother is a beautiful Creole woman. Her father's distinctly African features are offset by the fact that he's a doctor. It's 1944, and Evelyn, her family, and her peers are unabashed in their colorism. Evelyn and her sister, Ruby, assess men and other women by the lightness of their skin and the natural straightness of their hair. Among other Negroes--the preferred term in this time and place--Evelyn's appearance and relative wealth shield her from some of the harsh realities of the Jim Crow South. But what privilege she enjoys becomes an impediment when she falls in love with a man with no money and no family. Over the course of the novel, Sexton follows Evelyn, her daughter, Jackie, and her grandson, T.C., as they negotiate the realities of race and class in the United States. Jackie loses her husband--and her solidly middle-class life--to the crack epidemic of the 1980s. T.C. starts dealing weed after the world he knows is destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Some of the dilemmas these characters face would have been--and will be--recognizable to many African-Americans. For example, Evelyn's beau (and, eventually, her husband) doesn't want to risk his life fighting for a country in which he is not a full citizen. And, even though Jackie knows the devastating impact of crack firsthand, she also recognizes that the war on drugs has a disproportionate impact on black people. Some of the nuances are particular to New Orleans--which has a distinct and complicated history with regard to race--but Sexton's choice of this unique setting is effective, too. There aren't many places in the country where three generations can take an African-American family from life in an established, upper-middle-class enclave to a hand-to-mouth existence in public housing. Sexton's debut novel shows us that hard work does not guarantee success and that progress doesn't always move in a straight line. A well-crafted--and altogether timely--first novel.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        July 1, 2017
        Evelyn, Jackie, and T. C. are complex and authentic generations of a New Orleans family. The novel's title captures reality for all three: free people trying to exercise free will while the webbing of race and class prevents them from finding free opportunity. In the 1940s, Evelyn's family is among the most successful African Americans in town, and her love for Renard, son of a janitor, causes them legitimate concern. In the 1980s, Jackie, Evelyn's daughter and herself a new mom, attempts to reconcile with her husband, Terry, whose crack addiction was born in part by his less-than status among his white peers. In the 2010s, Jackie's son, T. C., is released from prison and must find a way to provide for his own newborn son. Sexton's characters share the traits of kindness and struggle, and her first novel disavows any notion that prejudice is history: perhaps changed in form, it is still passed along with the generations. This novel sparked a competition among literary agents, and for good reason. This family is worth every minute of a reader's time.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
Long-listed for the National Book Award and named a New York Times Notable Book, A Kind of Freedom is a moving tale of love and the consequences of American racial inequality spanning three generations of a New Orleans family
"This luminous and assured first novel shines an unflinching, compassionate light on three generations of a black family in New Orleans, emphasizing endurance more than damage." —The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. Her family inhabits the upper echelon of Black society, and when she falls for no-account Renard, she is forced to choose between her life of privilege and the man she loves.

In 1982, Evelyn's daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband's drug addiction. Just as she comes to terms with his abandoning the family, he returns, ready to resume their old life.

...
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