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, [2003]
Edition: Twenty-fifth anniverary edition
Copyright Date: ©2003
ISBN: 9780807083697
0807083690
Branch Call Number: FIC BUTLER 2003
Characteristics: 287 pages ; 21 cm

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From Library Staff

Dana, a Black woman, finds herself constantly shot back and forth between her modern time of 1976 in LA and pre-civil war times in Maryland, eventually meeting an ancestor.

This graphic novel adaptation of Butler’s classic novel vividly renders Dana’s experiences as a Black woman who travels to the past on a collision course with her ancestors on a plantation in antebellum Maryland.

Jo Walton in What Makes This Book So Great writes: “The immediate effect of reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred (1981) is to make every other time travel book in the world look as if it’s wimping out.”

Local author Butler’s historical time travel novel about Dana, a young black woman, who is wrenched from 1976 to the antebellum South over and over again to save the white slavemaster’s son who fathers her great-grandmother. This novel is an insightful look into the horrors of slavery and its gen... Read More »

Butler’s historical time time travel novel about a young black woman, Dana, who is wrenched from 1976 to the antebellum South over and over again to save the white slavemaster’s son who fathers her great-grandmother is an insightful look into the horrors of slavery and its generational impact.


From the critics


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c
ciyer24
Jan 20, 2021

Octavia Butler’s novel, Kindred, is a science fiction book that can be classified as African American literature. Most of the events in the book happen in the 1800s. This book covers topics such as racism, slavery, and power. I like the way Butler’s creativity expresses the significance of the power structure during slavery in the 1800s. I also enjoyed how I could put myself in Dana’s (the main character’s) shoes. Through Dana, Butler shows how it was to be a slave. Overall, Kindred was very interesting to me, and I highly recommend this novel for teenagers and older people.

JCLS_Youth_Services Jan 15, 2021

I thought it was intense and well written and I think this would be a great addition to the required reading for high schoolers list.

Sadly, the topics in this book are still so relevant today.

A great read for people who love science fiction, or historical fiction.

n
nityarjnd
Jan 14, 2021

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler is a moving novel describing the struggles of an African American woman named Dana who wakes up in a completely different time (the 1800's) and must learn to survive with the tribulations of being African American at that time. The sheer detail and passion that Butler describes Dana's experience in helps the readers really sympathize and understand how she is feeling. The contents of this book contain some shocking events, and if you are sensitive to these topics, you should read this book with discretion. I believe people who are 13+ are the right demographic for this novel. I give this book a 4.5/5.

r
rosevazquez1
Jan 12, 2021

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler; An African-American woman in 1979 named Dana suddenly appeared in a whole different situation and a whole different era. She finds out that she is transported to the 1800's to save the life of a boy named Rufus who is in danger. She comes to a realization that she has to keep Rufus and herself alive for a powerful reason. She faced many challenges on this journey. Since she was a woman of color during the times of slavery she was forced to be a slave just like the rest of the African Americans at that time. She faced racism and hard work which slaves were put through. We get to see all the horror that once happened in our history . I really enjoyed reading this book, since it was very captivating because it involved time travel and American history together. It was also very interesting that the author focused more on the mistreatment that slaves went through. If you are more sensitive to sexual assault, abuse, and self-harm, you may want to stay away from this book. I think it was very interesting how the author mixed fiction and nonfiction together. If you really enjoy a book that has both science fiction and history you might like this book. The age range should be 14+ ⅘ star rating from me.

a
alfredfrenzel
Dec 06, 2020

Dolly Parton recommends in her NYT by the book interview

j
jump8999
Dec 04, 2020

rec'd by Dolly Parton

j
janerf
Oct 04, 2020

Breath taking story, on many levels. Yeah, time travel... but it's not science fiction. It's a tool to display all the invisible disconnects between cultures, between races, between genders, between classes, between people. Amazing display of white fragility and inability to understand, amazing display of ability of people to be humane in spite of their situations, and sometimes in spite of themselves. Butler is a great story teller.

j
janajensen
Jul 28, 2020

This is an engaging story and the use of the time travel angle makes it more interesting. However, the artifice of time travel as a technique for enhancing the allure of a historical narrative is far from unique. The mere use of a time travel technique to tell a story does not make this work a "science fiction" novel.

The main focus of the book is to present the plight of black slaves in the antebellum American south, with all the unsavory and repugnant practices that went along with slave ownership. It's impossible to tell from this novel alone whether the slave situation is depicted with great accuracy and I would suggest caution in accepting the representations of this novel as historical facts. There is no doubt that blacks generally were treated abominably by their masters and the southern slave society during the American slave era, but this novel gives the impression that such treatment was uniformly pervasive and extreme. Based on 65 years of life experience interacting with human society and my own historical education, I believe that this most likely is not true to the extent represented by this novel. Be aware that the author seems to have an agenda to represent the white perspective in the least favorable light without recognizing the complications of the time and the reality that there must have been plenty of white people in the time period who tried to be decent and caring human beings. After all, it is a fact that a large number of white people in America were willing to fight and die in pursuit of the elimination of slavery and the liberation and fair treatment of black people.

But, does the author present an interesting story? Sure. Just be willing, as a reader, to accept it's a fictional story and recognize that human history is replete with inhuman behavior among and between all races. The atrocities of black slavery in the antebellum south are far from unique. Reality is always more complicated than can be depicted in any story. The battle between good and evil is universal. Don't forget the role of goodness.

p
pokano
Jul 12, 2020

Engrossing story about a contemporary California couple--she black, he white, who somehow get transported in time back to slave-holding Maryland in the first quarter of the 19th Century. The author really knows how to tell a great story; I don't usually care for science fiction, but Butler makes this story so real that it's believable. Highly recommended.

s
susanmccall
Jun 20, 2020

Octavia Butler is African American and has a unique point of view which can only be recognized by being a part of what she is living through, at the time the book was set in 1976 and bringing present day Black Live Matter and George Floyd. She did extensive research for this book and it is apparent when reading the story. This was for me, a unique viewpoint of how a slave lived. Besides being a very believable story, it was a real page turner. Ms Butler has written many amazing books. It is a shame that she did not live longer to write many more. This book took her a long time to write as it was depressing for her. I have a new and more deep understanding of being a slave in the not so distant past.

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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

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

j
jss
Jun 09, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Age

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c
ciyer24
Jan 20, 2021

ciyer24 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

l
LadyKatka
Aug 08, 2019

LadyKatka thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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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