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Kindred (1979)

by Octavia E. Butler

Other authors: Robert Crossley (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,5793531,007 (4.22)699
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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1970s (13)
AP Lit (23)
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» See also 699 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 354 (next | show all)
After reading (and loving) the Dawn series, this was my next foray into Octavia Butler's writings. Capturing the fierce emotions of her characters seems to be a strength of Butler's. It was that way with Dawn and the same is true for Kindred. Kindred's main character, Dana, must endure the inexplicable time travel between her life in 1976 and the pre-war South, on top of dealing with the realities of being a slave when she is pulled back into time.

Each time she is pulled back in time, it is because the life of a young white boy is in danger. She realizes that the boy, Rufus, is a descendent, and his survival is tied to her own.

The novel is rich in the obvious themes of racism and sexism, but I think the tumultuous relationship between Dana and Rufus also speaks to the frequently very complicated relationship that African-Americans have with white Americans. In one sense, we feel disdain toward continually being relegated to second-class citizen status, yet there really doesn't seem to be a way to move forward in this nation without forming a kindred bond. Despite how often Rufus' treatment of Dana becomes deplorable, she realizes that they need each other and must find a way to move forward together . ( )
  BlackAsh13 | May 27, 2024 |
Although I was not enthusiastic about this book club choice, I am glad to have read it. It generated a lively discussion about the themes of slavery and oppression which arise when a modern (1976) African American woman finds herself travelling back in time to 1819 on a Maryland farm, forced to rescue an ancestor to assure his and her own survival, and she must live as a slave in doing so. The writing struck me as clear but not lyrical. There was almost too much dialog at times but the story is a good one and trundled me along to its unsatisfactory ending. The protagonist and her husband do a little historical research but never really resolve this strange occurrence and how it permanently changed their lives. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
This book blew me away. I can't believe it's been around since 1979. It's a cross-genre marvel of a book, telling the story of a modern (1976) black woman who is inexplicably transported back to the antebellum south. Each of her inadvertent journeys is fraught with danger, physical and psychological. Butler asks questions of Dana, and by extension us, that are deeply uncomfortable. How can people tolerate seeing the abuse of others without interfering? How can people be abused over and over again and never retaliate? Brilliant book, would recommend it to anyone. ( )
  punkinmuffin | Apr 30, 2024 |
Nice twist on historical fiction. Can't say much else without giving too much away, if I haven't already. ;-) ( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
Kindred has been falsely branded under the classification of a genre novel (genre-bending or not), just because it happens to incorporate some seemingly fantastical ingredients as part of the wordsmith's brew, and in so doing, has belittled its rightful status as a masterstroke of modern art and educational significance. There is so much gravity in the historical depictions contained within these pages smeared with blood and tears, portrayed with a harrowing present-day voice which is so identifiable, that it is an earthshaking experience for anyone to leaf through with at least an ounce of pity in their heart. This is a staggering story of the realities of slavery and an eye-opening portrayal of a demoralizing human cruelty. Why there are so many contenders which take Kindred's place as required academic reading I'll never comprehend. ( )
  TheBooksofWrath | Apr 18, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 354 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Octavia E. Butlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crossley, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adébáyò, AyòbámiForewordsecondary authorsome 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, KimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Victoria Rose,
friend and goad
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I lost an arm on my last trip home. (Prologue)
The trouble began long before June 9, 1976, when I became aware of it, but June 9 is the day I remember it.
We flew to Maryland as soon as my arm was well enough. (Epilogue)
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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.

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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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