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Kindred by Octavia E. Butler


by Octavia E. Butler

Other authors: Robert Crossley (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 530 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
I never realised how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.

This book was brutal. I kept hoping Rufus wouldn't grow up to be an asshole, and yet.

Also, I know this is called science fiction, but since there was no explanation of Dana's time travel anywhere, it felt more like fantasy?

major tws: slavery, racism, rape, suicide ( )
  runtimeregan | Jun 12, 2019 |
If Octavia Butler had written an auto parts catalog I'm sure I could get pulled in to reading it cover to cover. In Kindred her writing flowed with an ease and clarity that made this science fiction/time travel account of slavery in the antebellum south feel almost contemporary even though it was written forty years ago. Because of its age I was concerned this might have the same dated, heavy handedness of L’Engle’s The Other Side of the Sun or some of the books in Ursula Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle, but that wasn’t the case at all. I definitely plan to read more of her work, I just can’t decide between the Earthseed series or Xenogenesis. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 9, 2019 |
Amazingly good & very interesting to say the least ( )
  RamblingBookNerd | Jun 5, 2019 |
This is my second time reading Kindred, and I appreciated it so much more than the first time around that I am rating it a full 5, which I reserve only for books I would purchase as reference books to keep with me (and that is literally only a handfull, as I am a minimalist).

I'm sure that others have summarised the book, so I will only add that I found her writing clear, not at all heavy-handed, and that she gets multiple points across in ways that I found both surprising and gratifying.

I was a bit surprised that she left Harriet Jacobs off of her list of famous escaped MD slaves, but then [b:Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl|152519|Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl |Harriet Jacobs|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1418788224s/152519.jpg|330710] was not taken seriously, apparently, until recently with the release of [b:Harriet Jacobs: A Life|66429|Harriet Jacobs A Life|Jean Fagan Yellin|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1388268295s/66429.jpg|64414]. I was also a bit surprised not to see her mention the use of quilts as markers for escaping slaves, well documented in [b:Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad|625491|Hidden in Plain View A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad|Jacqueline L. Tobin|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1320485626s/625491.jpg|835670] and other works. But that might also have distracted from her purpose, so it is yet another lesson of the craft of writing that I will gratefully hope to learn from this wonderful writer of blessed memory.

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
August 29th, 12016 HE
( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
Loved both the unique premise of the book and how the author developed the story. I'm a sucker for time travel books and also for historical fiction. Add into that mix a book dealing with the roles of race and gender and you've got Kindred.

The thought of a modern day black person being transported back to the Antebellum South is scary, similar to a modern Jewish person being transported back to Germany in the 1930's. However, the analogy to a Jew in Hitler's Germany isn't quite apt since in that situation it's much easier to see the Nazis as pure evil, only out to hurt Jewish people. What makes Dana's situation in Kindred so spooky and upsetting is how the white people in the story are so unpredictable in their behavior, and how enmeshed their lives are with the slaves they own. If someone is 100% horrible, like the overseers, it is simple to hate them and fear them. But with Dana's ancestor Rufus, it's not so cut & dry. He acts friendly & even loving at some points, only to turn on a dime and become a vicious monster. That unpredictability is frightening. Never knowing what a person's response will be keeps you on edge.

The reason behind the time travel - that Dana must keep her white ancestor alive long enough to father the child Dana descends from - brings up so many dilemmas. Like Dana, I at first thought the relationship between Alice & Rufus would be of some sort of forbidden love story - children growing up together & falling in love but unable to be together openly because of society. Haha, what an idiot I was to predict that. That both modern Dana & the modern reader would first think that is telling of the difference between now and then. In real life, that sort of relationship would be nigh impossible based on the roles both people have been born into and on how they have been conditioned to think. I think Butler did a great job portraying all the different layers in Rufus & Alice's "relationship".

Dana faces such a difficult moral dilemma with Alice & Rufus. Basically she has to not only step aside but actively encourage the repeated rape of Alice in order for Dana's ancestor to be conceived. What a horrific choice to make - to put aside your feelings as a fellow human being, as a woman, as a black person, and play a part in the destruction of another person. Poor Alice. The other slaves look down on her, hate her, for what happens to her. She doesn't fit in with the slaves or with the white master. She is all alone in her misery. Female slaves were doubly in danger - there is the severe physical violence that all the slaves face and then there is the ever present sexual violence as well. It is psychologically crushing. Using the threat of selling a woman's children to keep her pliable enough for you to have sex with her without her physically resisting - UGH. How completely traumatic for a mother to be forced to deal with that.

My one complaint about the book is that I felt we the readers did not spend enough time in present day LA. I think it would have been better if we got to contrast Dana's modern life with her life in 1819. Highlighting the many differences would have been interesting. ( )
  JulieLogan | May 1, 2019 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Butler, Octavia E.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crossley, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gyan, DeborahCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leon, JanaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nuenning, MirjamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Otoo, Sharon DoduaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, RachelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rummel, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwinger, LaurenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staunton, Kimsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Victoria Rose,
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I lost an arm on my last trip home.
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Book description
A young African-American woman is mysteriously transferred back in time leading to an irresistible curiosity about her family's past.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807083690, Paperback)

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:33 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned across the years to save him. After this first summons, Dana is drawn back, again and again, to the plantation to protect Rufus and ensure that he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana's ancestor. Yet each time Dana's sojourns become longer and more dangerous, until it is uncertain whether or not her life will end, long before it has even begun.… (more)

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Beacon Press

2 editions of this book were published by Beacon Press.

Editions: 0807083690, 0807083100

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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