Author: Octavia E. Butler
First Published: 1979
Publisher: Beacon Press – February 1, 2004 (25th anniversary edition)
Format: Paperback Length: 287 pages Genre(s): Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction
Summary: 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 stays grow 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.
(From the back cover)
Octavia Butler begins this book with a very attention grabbing line “I lost an arm on my last trip home.” (Kindred). After starting this book I really did not want to put it down. I am not an avid reader but this book is very entertaining. I found it interesting she started with a prolog in this book but it did help grab my attention and raise many questions that I did not wish to wait and find out.
This book is written in the first person of Dana. At first I get the feeling that she is not a very bright person and not aware of much. The traveling back and forth is a unique way of telling a story about history and the progression of characters. Although I do not see how the actual time travel plays a huge part in the book other than the fact that it’s somehow tied to Rufus.
I like how the different chapters are basically something big and new that happens. Like turning a page in a history book and trying to live through it. Dana finds herself dealing with slavery, violence, passion, love all while trying to figure out why this is happening to her. When she is called back to the past it does not matter on bit that she is a modern black woman. She bears a huge burden of learning to survive on a plantation.
This is a very moving and strong story. There is many plots and ideas in this book that will get you thinking for hours. I found an interview with Octavia Butler were she said ““I was trying to get people to feel slavery. I was trying to get across the kind of emotional and psychological stones that slavery threw at people” (Snider). I feel that she diffidently accomplished that in this book.
Kindred is a book that covers many bases: Fiction, fantasy, Historical fiction, mystery, passion, love, power, and violence. I highly recommend Kindred to anyone interested in any of those subjects.
Snider, John C. “Octavia E. Butler.” Www.scifidimensions.com. N.p., June 2004. Web. 13 Sept. 2014
Butler, Octavia E. Kindred. Boston: Beacon, 2004. Print.