Large Print - 2020 | Large print edition.
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A ferociously talented writer makes his stunning debut with this richly woven tapestry, set in a small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves, that depicts several generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time, and fate.

Structured as a triptych, Africaville chronicles the lives of three generations of the Sebolt family--Kath Ella, her son Omar/Etienne, and her grandson Warner--whose lives unfold against the tumultuous events of the twentieth century from the Great Depression of the 1930s, through the social protests of the 1960s to the economic upheavals in the 1980s.

A century earlier, Kath Ella's ancestors established a new home in Nova Scotia. Like her ancestors, Kath Ella's life is shaped by hardship--she struggles to conceive and to provide for her family during the long, bitter Canadian winters. She must also contend with the locals' lingering suspicions about the dark-skinned "outsiders" who live in their midst.

Kath Ella's fierce love for her son, Omar, cannot help her overcome the racial prejudices that linger in this remote, tight-knit place. As he grows up, the rebellious Omar refutes the past and decides to break from the family, threatening to upend all that Kath Ella and her people have tried to build. Over the decades, each successive generation drifts further from Africaville, yet they take a piece of this indelible place with them as they make their way to Montreal, Vermont, and beyond, to the deep South of America.

As it explores notions of identity, passing, cross-racial relationships, the importance of place, and the meaning of home, Africaville tells the larger story of the black experience in parts of Canada and the United States. Vibrant and lyrical, filled with colorful details, and told in a powerful, haunting voice, this extraordinary novel--as atmospheric and steeped in history as The Known World, Barracoon, The Underground Railroad, and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie --is a landmark work from a sure-to-be major literary talent.

Publisher: [Farmington Hills, Michigan] : Gale, 2020.
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781432875015
Branch Call Number: Large Print FIC Colvi
Characteristics: 581 pages
Alternative Title: Africa ville


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Jan 23, 2020

Africaville is a solid multi-generational story about a family exploring their identity. Although it is written with a meticulous attention to details, Colvin never provides enough reason for you to care about the slew of characters he introduces. Another issue is that the characters are typically described as either light or dark. There is not much variety and one gets bored. At 371 pages, the book could have benefited from slicing about 50-75 pages from the manuscript. Near the middle of the book it seemed as if Colvin himself had tired from writing it. I would have loved to edit this book because Colvin shows promise as a writer. Despite the book's shortcomings, Colvin had moments where his talent shines through. I wonder if it is the scope of the work--it spans generations and the characters travel from Canada to the U.S.--that weighs down the author's debut novel. It seems like such a huge undertaking for a first time novelist. I will be discussing this book on my Spotify podcast, Lovers in the Library.

DCLadults Jan 15, 2020

A New & Noteworthy Fiction pick. A debut based on an actual black community of escaped slaves set in a small Nova Scotia town. This multigenerational family saga moves through the years from Nova Scotia to the tumultuous 1960s in the American South.

TCCL_Adult_Fiction Dec 16, 2019

Library Reads 2019

debwalker Nov 27, 2019

Africville is a settlement of Jamaican people run out of their homes by the British and dumped in cold Nova Scotia. Multigenerational family story of the impacts of racial prejudice and injustice. Strong reviews.

lcasper Nov 20, 2019

Great story about the Sebolt family which starts off in Africaville outside of Halifax. Colvin weaves the story of Kath Ella and her family through decades of ongoing racial prejudice and injustice, portraying the love among characters and the tenacity of some determined to find happiness.

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