Dear Reader

Random musings on reading and books from a librarian in training.

Monday, December 29, 2008


This was the second book that I've read by Octavia Butler and like Fledgling, it almost defies description.

Kindred centers around Dana, an African-American woman in the 1970s. When Dana and her white husband, Kevin, are moving into their new home, Dana finds herself transported in time/space. When she sees a child drowning, she jumps in and saves his life.
That boy is Rufus -- one of Dana's ancestor -- and the son of plantation owner/slave owner.

Dana keeps finding herself transported back in time every time Rufus' life is in danger. While she may be there for months, her time away from home is only hours. She needs to keep Rufus at least until her ancestor -- Hagar -- is born.

The novel, although it's considered science fiction, never delves into the mystery of time travel or how it is that Dana is transported back in time. It does focus on Dana's experiences of being treated like a slave. While she's there she goes through many of the hardships slaves went through -- working in the fields, being whipped, seeing close friends sold away. When her husband is transported with her once they have to lie about their relationship, since interracial marriage was illegal.

Dana's life on the plantation is grim and Butler explores the true brutality of slavery. I thought it was interesting that the time travel aspect was downplayed and the book focused more on race and slavery.

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