Kindred

Kindred

Book - 2003
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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.
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c2003
Edition: 25th anniverary edition
ISBN: 9780807083697
0807083690
Branch Call Number: Fiction Butler
Characteristics: 287 p. ; 21 cm

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From Library Staff

Only the tip of the iceberg of Butler's excellent writing. The main character is repeatedly transported into the life of an antebellum slave, who is revealed to be one of her ancestors.

This title is also available in downloadable audiobook and ebook formats.

Part historical fiction and part fantasy, this book features a modern Black woman who keeps time-traveling to the plantation her ancestors are from; by a Black author.

One of the first science fiction novels written by a black woman. Follows Dana, a black women living in the 70s as she travels back and forth through time from present day to antebellum Maryland. Forced to aide the young white boy who will inevitably become her several times great grandfather.

Comment
PimaLib_RachelW May 29, 2015

I don't often think of myself as a Science Fiction reader, but this book kept me up at night, wanting to finish the next chapter. Octavia Butler beautifully explores difficult interpersonal relationships across race, gender, and time. Well worth the read!


From the critics


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syrobert03 Aug 22, 2019

I recently reread this title. It was just as inflammatory as the first read. Written well enough that I was transported...black girl time-travelling....to slavery. Finally I felt represented in the genre. I also felt terrified and angry.

u
uncommonreader
Jul 22, 2019

The author took an interesting approach - time-travel back to 1815 - to portray the everyday life of slaves. Her contrast with to-day is perhaps a little too positive, although probably things were indeed better in 1979 than in 2019.

h
hannahkateriss
Jun 12, 2019

Interesting and quick read. This book was the first science fiction book written by a Black woman and while some parts were hard to read, it was enjoyable. I would recommend this book to my friends.

m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

This is one of the best books I've ever read. I understand, now, why it is considered a classic of literature. As violent as it is, and it is as violent as was American chattel slavery and the human trafficking that supported it, it is also incredibly complex and at times deeply beautiful.
It raises the question that so many ask: who would you have been, had you lived during the time of slavery? For the African American female protagonist, Dana, and her white husband, Kevin, the question suddenly becomes practical, rather than theoretical, as each gets whisked away to the 19th century for months or, in one case, years at a time. Butler spares her reader none of the brutality of human enslavement: the whippings, the rape, the constant, daily fear of being sold as property.
But what makes this book so deeply perceptive is its meditation on the impact of the slave system on those within it: male and female (the book is decidedly heteronormative), black and white. No character is unsullied by the system. No character escapes being (de)formed by it. And at its core is the fundamental question: at what cost survival? How far is, finally, too far?
If you read no other book by Octavia Butler, read this one. It is not an easy read, but it is absolutely worth it.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Mar 20, 2019

So relevant today, after all these years. Ms. Butler was a genius. Such an interesting nuanced take on the psychology of slavery and its impact on our modern world.

k
kkucker
Oct 26, 2018

Time-traveling to save a slave-owning ancestor

The first Octavia Butler book I've read. Now I'm hooked. The incredible emotion she's able to express through her characters is spellbinding. You feel like you're with them, you're witnessing it. I was so invested in what happened to Dana, I read late into the night several times because I had to know that she returned to modern time safely or until I knew why she had been called back to Rufus. Highly recommend.

KatieD_KCMO Sep 06, 2018

The first Octavia Butler book I've read. Now I'm hooked. The incredible emotion she's able to express through her characters is spellbinding. You feel like you're with them, you're witnessing it. I was so invested in what happened to Dana, I read late into the night several times because I had to know that she returned to modern time safely or until I knew why she had been called back to Rufus. Highly recommend.

d
DerekMS
Jul 15, 2018

Well written an enjoyable read. A modern woman confronts the horrors of slavery in the American South as she is thrust back through time again and again.

r
RhiannonReads
Jul 02, 2018

Books like these come along once in a lifetime. I hope you get a chance to experience this incredible, heartbreaking legacy.

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Notices

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m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Unsurprisingly, since this is about slavery, many scenes are frightening and intense

m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

Sexual Content: sexual violence is present throughout, as is historically accurate

m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

Coarse Language: The use of the N word is historical, but present and jarring

m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

Violence: The use of the whip is particularly violent. Also, at least once, a character has a gun pointed directly at them. And a character loses an arm.

j
jss
Jun 09, 2008

Violence: This title contains Violence.

j
jss
Jun 09, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

j
jss
Jun 09, 2008

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Age

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m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

mayog thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

b
Bluejay_4
Jul 03, 2017

Bluejay_4 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

m
MyLovelyDay
Dec 21, 2016

MyLovelyDay thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

weirdtaurus Jun 15, 2014

weirdtaurus thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Quotes

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m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

I closed my eyes and saw the children playing their game again. “The ease seemed so frightening.” I said. “Now I see why.”
“What?”
“The ease. Us, the children ... I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.”

m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

Strangely, they seemed to like him, hold him in contempt, and fear him all at the same time. This confused me because I felt just about the same mixture of emotions for him myself. I had thought my feelings were complicated because he and I had such a strange relationship. But then, slavery of any kind fostered strange relationships. Only the overseer drew simple, unconflicting emotions of hatred and fear when he appeared briefly. But then, it was part of the overseer’s job to be hated and feared while the master kept his hands clean.

m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

That educated didn’t mean smart. He had a point. Nothing in my education or knowledge of the future had helped me to escape. Yet in a few years an illiterate runaway named Harriet Tubman would make nineteen trips into this country and lead three hundred fugitives to freedom.

Summary

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m
mayog
Apr 24, 2019

A "modern" African American woman (late 20th century) is forcibly drawn back in time to save and protect her white, male progenitor, with traumatic physical and psychological consequences to her, her white husband, and all around her.

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