E-book, 287 pages

English language

Published Sept. 11, 2008 by Beacon Press.

ISBN:
978-0-8070-8369-7
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
53021612

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (140 reviews)

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given...

26 editions

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Timeless

5 stars

Incredibly written for a book. It is amazing to think it was written in the 1970s. The story is just captivating, characters so realistic, and the time travel elements very well done. I learned about slavery growing up but never in this way and in so much detail. Dana describes it well when she witnessed the past vs watching it in media, or reading about it in a history textbook. While the story is fictionalized the events described are very real and you find how insidious slavery was and how it not only became normalized in the 1800s. It did not shy away from black bodies being a human currency and the words and treatment alike slaves and "freed slaves" were subjected to. No one is safe. It is a systemic issue that still exists today and while we have made great strides, the effects have still rippled through time. …

Powerful

5 stars

This book packs a punch. It really drives home that the past can be very dangerous and how it continues to influence the present. Probably one of the best time travel tales. Despite the heavy themes I found it very gripping and hard to put down. And it's so well written. We see everything through Dana's eyes and only learn what she learns when she learns it. It all feels very organic. The characterisations are well done, too, e.g. I guessed that Dana's husband is white before it's mentioned just by the way he is well-meaning but doesn't quite get it. The book explores the system of slavery, how "slaves are made" and the violence inherent in the system even when no overt violence is occurring. Even if you already know a lot about slavery, it really adds another dimension to it. I highly recommend reading it.

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

A deserved classic

5 stars

For much of the time I spent reading Kindred, I completely forgot that this novel was written in the 1970s - some 45 years ago now. Octavia Butler's ideas and prose style still feel fresh and I was glad that this important novel hasn't suffered from being 'of its time'. Other 1970s novels I've read have seemed dated but, in fact, Kindred came across as just as relevant now as it must have been to its first readers. On a personal level that was a good thing because it meant I could fully appreciate the story and everything it wanted to impart to me. I was also very aware though that this also illustrates how little progress has been achieved in terms of racial and gender equality over the past four decades. Slavery such as Dana experiences on the plantation may no longer be legal, but the attitudes it fostered …

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

It is about usa southern states slavery, it is hard to read, it is very good. The time travel element brought it emotionally much closer to me in contrast to a „it was a long time ago - it was very bad“ story. The only well used time travel in any story I can remember at the moment. A focus is on different kinds of human relations in the context of slavery.

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Still powerful almost half a century on

4 stars

Content warning Minor plot information

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (The Women's Press science fiction)

Such an original and captivating storyline

5 stars

What a book. I was drawn in by the horrifying scenario that Dana found herself trapped in, but the examination of how slavery was so normalized, and how evil the institution of chattel slavery was.

I happened to have been in the middle of this book when a conspiracy theorist, racist member of my extended family brought up how whites are unfairly blamed for slavery. It made me realize that while the practice of owning people as slaves is gone, the same anti-black philosophy is still thriving among white men.

The idea that my family member or his ilk would tacitly endorse the return of slavery is slim, but, in finding themselves in Kevin's shoes might think similarly that "Hey, this isn't as bad as I thought it would be..."

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Great read; great author. Never read any of Butlers books before. Heard good stuff so I read this one. Wow.

It made me think of things like mass hypnosis of a population, like the Nazi era, the Salem witch trials, reports of dancing for days, and here in the USA before the civil war: slavery.
How could so many people have ethics and morality so blinded from themselves on something as ruthless as slavery. The attitudes of people just didn't see blacks as human; they were sub human. How can they be so blind? What causes this? All I can think of is mass hypnosis, like what happened to the people of Germany during WWII.

The attitude of the people which demanded submissiveness and ultimate respect is unbelievable. I mean it did happen so I believe it. Did they think they were kings? Or gods? I just don't get it. …

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

‘I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.’

Kindred drew me in and refused to let me go, much like Dana is snatched from the comforts of her modern ‘home’ and taken back to the 1800s, serving as witness and savior to a white plantation owner who turns out to be quite important for her ancestry. I’ve read some of Butler’s Patternmaster series before this, but this book has a different style and a different vibe to it. The themes and philosophy are much stronger, the characters and plot mainly vehicles for the former. The characterization is decent though, and even though the plot remains slightly stagnant—we see the ending in the beginning, and then work from the beginning towards the dreaded conclusion—it was nevertheless quite enthralling. Read for a book club in December 2022—and to think I was almost afraid I wouldn’t finish it in …

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I like the approach of getting the magic out of the way up front and then going to work on excellent characters and the complex contrasts between time periods. Maybe it's easier for historical fiction, but I can't help noting how flawlessly this story written in the 1970's holds up.

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

captivating

5 stars

I liked this A Lot. Got through it in a couple of days because I really empathized with the characters and was keen to see what happened to them. I think the book is based on a very interesting idea. The horror of slavery is described very clearly and I have the impression that I somewhat understood it.

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Dieses Buch schildert auf sehr ungewöhnliche Weise das Leben von Sklaven in den Südstaaten der USA, indem es eine Protagonistin, deren Vorfahren Sklaven waren, mehrfach unfreiwillig aus ihrem Leben in den 1970ern in der Zeit in die Zeit vor dem Bürgerkrieg zurückreisen lässt. Dabei erfährt sie mehr über ihre Familiengeschichte und ist gezwungen, mehr als einmal das Leben des weißen Sohnes eines Plantagenbesitzers zu retten, damit er zu einem ihrer Vorfahren werden kann. Es gelingt ihr sowohl, die schwierigen und komplexen Beziehungen zwischen Sklaven und und ihren Besitzern darzustellen, als auch (für mich) glaubwürdig die Gefühlswelt einer jungen schwarzen Frau aus dem zwanzigsten Jahrhundert zu beschreiben, die in diese Zeit gezwungen wird. Besonders schwierig wird es, als ihr weißer Lebensgefährte versehentlich auf eine dieser Zeitreisen mitgezogen wird - und dort natürlich für ihren Herrn und Besitzer gehalten wird. Der Aufenthalt in dieser Zeit geht an ihm ebenfalls nicht spurlos vorbei. …

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I was expecting this to be painful. I expected to feel rage, helplessness, fear, disgust.

I was not expecting serenity. That's an incongruous word for a book on this topic — I'm uncomfortable writing and even thinking it — but that's what fits. Dana, the protagonist, demonstrates an astonishing inner strength, a quiet fire manifesting as wisdom, patience, remarkable tolerance. The result is a nuanced and complex book: kindness, resilience, fortitude; also monstrous cruelty, with clear villains who — much like today's Republicans — are simply weak worthless subhumans, products of a deep-rooted and enormously broken system, incapable of breaking out of it and too stupid to understand a bigger, broader, better world. Butler, unlike me, is able to find compassion even for those creatures. Her Dana is a memorable character: soft front, strong back — Brené Brown would approve. Every character rings true, with believable emotions.

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

They don't have to understand. Even the games they play are preparing them for their future - and that future will come whether they understand it or not.

I am fairly new to Octavia Butler's writing (this and Parable of the Sower is all I have to go on) but I understand all of the accolades and praise she receives. Her stories may be written decades ago but they don't feel dated or out of style, if anything they are as important now as they were when they were written.

I came across Kindred while reading recommendations that fit my style and once I saw "time travel" and "Octavia Butler" I needed no further encouragement and this book shot to the top of what to read next.

I thought I would die on the ground there with a mouth full of dirt and blood and a white man cursing and …

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

An amazing tale. An excellent read for those, like me, who are genealogists and/or family historians. The depth of the tale's theme; the complexity of the situation & time; and the involvement / investment in the past form an incredibly powerful base for this tale. Life is never simple.

What an awesome author, she was....

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Subjects

  • African American women -- Fiction
  • Slaveholders -- Fiction
  • Time travel -- Fiction
  • Slavery -- Fiction
  • Slaves -- Fiction
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Fiction
  • Southern States -- Fiction

Lists