A Kind of Freedom
A John Murray Original
By Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
A emotionally wrenching, character-rich debut from a National Book Award-longlisted rising American star
Longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award
'Luminous . . . a writer of uncommon nerve and talent' New York Times
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.
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. Fresh out of a four-month stint for drug charges, T.C. decides to start over-until an old friend convinces him to stake his new beginning on one last deal.
For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. A Kind of Freedom is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.
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 work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her stories have been published or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Limestone Journal, and Broad! Magazine. She lives in the Bay Area, California. A Kind of Freedom is her debut novel.
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- Publication date:
05 Apr 2018
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Compassionate and readable, the novel vividly captures the pressures faced by African-American families in a country still racked with racial tensions — Sunday Times
An acclaimed debut following three generations of a New Orleans family — Financial Times
Sexton's powerful first novel... A Kind of Freedom glimmers with hope — BBC Culture
An insider's intimate account of how people of colour in New Orleans struggle against white bigots and among themselves in attempts to achieve social evolution . . . a sensitive observer of the behaviour of her fellow natives of all classes, and reports their speech with wonderful fidelity — Spectator
A compelling debut novel . . . Race, class, unemployment, drug wars and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina all factor into Sexton's multigenerational tale, illustrating the persistent racial disparities in our so-called 'post-racial' America — Mercury News
This generational arc is largely related to systemic racism, but to simplify this novel as an exploration of such minimizes Wilkerson's incredible achievement . . . This remarkable debut marks Margaret Wilkerson Sexton as a writer worth watching — Chicago Review of Books
It's hard to believe that A Kind of Freedom is Sexton's first novel . . . This is a book for our time — New York Journal of Books
This emotionally wrenching, character-rich debut spans three generations in a city deeply impacted by segregation, economic inequality, and racial tensions . . . 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 — Publishers Weekly
A well-crafted - and altogether timely - first novel — Kirkus Reviews
this scintillating novel shines light on the legacy of racism through three generations of a black family in New Orleans — Book Riot
A fascinating exploration of the long-lasting and enduring divisive legacy of slavery in the US . . . a story that will pull you in and keep you hypnotised — Stylist