Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Dana is a twenty-six year old black woman living in California in 1976. Dana gets dizzy again and reappears in her house in 1976. I hope to read this book soon. My ancestors were Scottish and Irish farmers for centuries. Related
One comment on “Kindred by Octavia E. Butler”
Diana March 6, 2017
I have this book on my TBR. The boy’s mother sees this black woman resuscitating her son and starts attacking Dana, before the boy’s father turns up and points a gun at her. I haven’t read many books featuring time-travel but I am intrigued by this one. No doubt we would be confronted by toil and difficulties, but those of us born white, in the UK, would probably never face anything even approximating the bloody horror of slavery.
Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestEmailPrintGoogleLike this:Like Loading… Nearby, a small red-haired boy is drowning and without thinking, Dana wades into the river to save him. She ends up a slave in his household, while Kevin (who has clung onto her and time-travelled with her) enjoys the privileges that being a white man in the antebellum South brings. She is left with an arm amputated, meaning the past has the most severe impact on the rest of her life (and, we must assume, the most crippling emotional impact too). 2014 (originally published 1979). Scary thought. They are both writers who met and fell in love while temping in menial jobs to pay the bills when writing wouldn’t. He may be liberal but he still struggles to understand the many ways that racism works. This is just the first of these time-travelling episodes. It is a violent, bloody book that doesn’t flinch from exposing the modern reader (and indeed, the modern protagonist) to the utter desperation and horror experienced by those trapped by it. I read the whole thing is one sitting, horrified but gripped throughout. Kevin has a scar across his forehead (and presumably also a metaphorical scar through his brain as the realities of America’s history is seared into him, a white man who has never had to confront those horrors nor anything like them) but Dana is the most severely scarred. RRP £5.99. And she does spend years there, for it transpires that that small red-haired boy is Rufus, a distant ancestor of Dana’s, who somehow manages to call her to him whenever his life is in danger. Kindle edition. He pretends that he is her owner, drastically shifting the dynamics of their marriage. We are privileged. Then something very strange happens one day, as they unpack boxes in their new home: Dana feels dizzy and faints, but when she comes to she finds herself in antebellum Maryland. Butler: Kindred. Hodder. She is married to Kevin, who is white, and who rejected his racist family to marry Dana. We must never forget that. Kindred is an extraordinary novel, one that it is impossible to forget. Both Dana and Kevin are permanently scarred by their time in the past. ‘Time-travelling slave narrative’ is a difficult genre to pin down, and it is testament to Butler’s light touch that the time travel element doesn’t take away from the impact of the slave narrative. I know I wouldn’t. Time does not pass in the same way in the two timelines; years in the pre-Civil War days pass in just a few hours in 1976. Their jobs will have been tough, tougher than anything I’ve had to do in my life, but at least they were not enslaved. Octavia E. The theme of slavery makes it sound like a tough read though and I can’t imagine ever going back to the past. What would happen if we were transported back to our distant pasts? Brilliant review. I would end up in the colonial period or slavery.