Octavia Butler’s award-winning novel, Kindred, tells the fictional story of Dana, a black woman from 1976, who unintentionally time travels to the antebellum South to meet her white ancestor, Rufus. Dana journeys back and forth between past and present, unable to control when she leaves, and comes as close as anyone to experiencing fully the life of a slave woman.
I highly recommend this book. I first read it for a speculative fiction class at WKU, and I have read it twice since. Although it definitely falls in the realm of science fiction with its use of time travel and reverse causality (the future having an effect on past events), it doesn’t really feel like sci-fi at all. It seems more like historical fiction to me – the type of story that brings the past to life. While reading this, I truly experienced the grim and harsh reality of slavery, and it made the antebellum South hard, plain, and true like no other novel or film has ever done. In this book, Butler uses a modern narrator with similar perceptions that we carry, and those modern perceptions drive our protagonist’s thoughts and actions, but they soon become blended in her mind with the sharpness of earlier times.
Kindred is an enticing read that will captivate your interest from the very first page and will keep you thinking about its messages long after you’re done reading. Don’t pass it up!
Reviewed by: Whitney
Find this book at our store in the Summer Reading section!