MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewThis is the America of opportunity, with one wave of immigrants replacing another as they climb higher on the ladder of success, but Momplaisir skillfully reveals why this ladder is missing a few rungs ... While no artist can give us every nuance, even of a world she knows with great intimacy, I found myself wanting more character-building, especially of Lucien. He is abusive from the story’s beginning, but the progression of the novel reveals unexpected depths of depravity without developing his transition from misogyny to violent sadism. How does a person come to commit despicable acts, even when he knows they are wrong? ... Lucien’s persistent refrain throughout the book, \'I am nothing,\' helps us appreciate the bottomlessness of his need. But what twisted thinking, justifications and stories does he tell himself to make his sinister worldview possible? ... Turning living beings into transactional objects allows the perpetrator to become anything: a rapist, a dictator, a collector of women no different to him from rocks or ketchup packets. My Mother’s House is an ambitious attempt to tell a story of despotism and terror, toxic masculinity and survival, and is a needed contribution to this difficult conversation.
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...[a] stunning new novel ... Sexton’s writing is clear and uncluttered, the dialogue authentic, with all the cadences of real speech. There is no false teenager slang, no tortured Southern accents or crude approximations of the words of the enslaved. Song lyrics, prayers, chants and Scripture are used liberally to situate the characters in time, but also to bind them to one another through a shared culture. But her prose also contains intimate, particularized glimpses of the main characters’ lives ... the plot itself is not quite the point of The Revisioners.This is a novel about the women, the mothers. The mothers who slough off the rough edges of the terrible tales, who leave the essence of the story without the pathology ... The novel proves that even if she is not with you, your mother (and her mother too) is not only part of you, but is you. You hear her voice echo through your own. You feel her expression creep onto your own face. She has something to pass onto you. The Revisioners also reminds us that though you may share blood, there are also connections deeper and more powerful than blood, connections that turn a collection of individuals into a community, and will forever be more significant than any bond that’s merely skin deep.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"...[a] wise and compassionate novel ... It is beautifully written, with many allusions to black music and culture — including the everyday poetry of the African-American community that begs to be heard ... While Jones keeps her gaze on the personal, this intimate story of a relationship cannot be divorced from its racial context. The black body in America can’t escape the scrutiny of the political lens, not entirely. The characters feel lucky that Roy is still alive — as Celestial says, there is \'no appealing a cop’s bullet.\' While not a polemic, the novel gives us a quiet, revolutionary statement about black innocence, which Celestial defines as \'having no way to predict the pain of the future.\'”