Author: Octavia E. Butler
Publisher: Beacon Press
Released: Originally June 1979
Warnings: Assault, slavery, rape
Kindred is one of those foundational science fiction/time travel novels that I’ve been hearing about all of my life. Written by Octavia E. Butler, it’s been a novel sitting on my TBR list for way too long. Time to correct that mistake.
Kindred is a blend of science fiction, and historical fiction, with strong time travel, fantasy, and memoir elements mixed in for added elements. It follows Dana, a woman with a strong connection to a dark time in America’s history.
She is the descendant of slaves, a fact that is thrown into the forefront thanks to the unexpected ability to travel back in time. But only to one focus. Over the course of this novel, she learns about the causes for her trips, as well as the history – and horror – of her family’s past.
“Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of “wrong” ideas.”
Honestly, I am so blown away by Kindred. I don’t even know where to begin this review. I can already see why Octavia Butler is so highly talked about – and can’t wait to continue reading through her works.
This novel is moving for a variety of reasons. The combination of fiction and fact makes for a raw and painful read – but it’s also powerful and beautiful. It addresses many issues, but it does so through a specific lens, and I hope that this will make it more approachable. It certainly worked well in regards to increasing the impact. As this is a book that had me crying on more than one occasion.
“Like all good works of fiction, it lies like the truth.”
Kindred is a novel to read if you want to be fascinated, horrified, blow over, and more. It portrays a darker side of history, and humanity, all while raising many interesting points and questions. It’ll shake you to your core, as it should.