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Kindred (Bluestreak) [Paperback]

Octavia E. Butler
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 2004 Bluestreak
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 to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.


Product details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; New title edition (Feb 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807083690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807083697
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Kindred is that rare magical artifact ... the novel one returns to, again and again (Harlan Ellison, muti-award-winning author)

One of the most original, thought-provoking works examining race and identity (Los Angeles Times)

One cannot finish Kindred without feeling changed. It is a shattering work of art (Los Angeles Herald-Examiner)

The immediate effect of reading Octavia Butler's Kindred is to make every other time travel book in the world look as if it's wimping out (Tor.com) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A modern black woman is transported to 19th century Maryland, where she faces the cruel realities of slavery. Kindred, Octavia E. Butler's masterpiece, is an essential read and 'a shattering work of art' (Los Angeles Herald-Examiner). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Time of Blacks, Whites, and Grays 17 Mar 2003
Format:Paperback
There are very few Afro-American science fiction writers, and even fewer of them are female writers, but they all have one thing in common: They write excellent fiction. Butler is not only no exception, she is one of the standard setters, and this work is a prime example.
This is a story of Dana, a modern Afro-American writer married to a white writer, who is drawn back in time to live with Rufus, plantation and slave owner in the period of 1815 - 1830, and also her distant ancestor. Though the mechanism by which she is forced back in time is never rationally explicated, this is almost immaterial, and Dana (and the reader) must simply deal with the transfer as a fact. But she is always drawn back at those times when Rufus is in danger of losing his life, from a near drowning to a contemplated suicide. When she helps him out of sheer humanitarianism, it leads to her having a rather strange position within his household, neither wholly slave nor anything close to being the equal of the whites. From this position, she can observe all the interactions between owner and slave, and at least initially be somewhat shielded from the worst of the living conditions of the slaves.
That shielding will not last, as Butler develops a powerful theme of how unbridled power leads to abuses that crush lives and hope, and just as much imposes character changes in the wielder and the recipient of such power. As a stark portrait of living conditions in that time, as a diatribe that exposes just how much has been conveniently forgotten about slavery and its demeaning, demoralizing effects, this work will evoke emotions of shame, rage, and empathy with all who are, through no fault of their own, caught in situations with very limited choices.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quantum Leap into History! 27 Nov 2000
Format:Paperback
This is a classis book that connects modern literary to a historical time and place. You are immediately drawn into the story by the powerful opening first pages. The idea of connecting 1970s LA to slavery times in the deep South by using time travel is a unique way of allowing the reader to enlighten their ideas about slavery in a very modern context.
Miss Butler's book not only encourages black people to know about the struggles in their history but also for white people to understand what was happening to African Americans during slavery. At times it's sad and heart rendering. You are transported into another time by the excellent literary skills of Octavia Butler. I felt connected to Dana's character and how she begins to find out about her ancestry, a story that probably is familiar with most families in America.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as a friend recommended it to me. I felt it was a written well. It did not linger on things that didn't push the story forward. The relationships between the slaves and their masters are not detailed enough for you to fully understand the reality but the relationship that Dana has with both parties fulfils that need to know more about the slave-master relationship.
The only criticism is that there is not enough of the story that focuses on the slaves and their relationship with Dana and her husband. I think I would have love to her more about Sarah's life and the slave community that Dana has to fit into. I would also liked to have seen more about how Dana and her husband coped with life changing events that were happening to them.
Overall it is one the best books I've read. I am an avid reader of Toni Morrison and I would thoroughly recommend that people who love reading black literature would adore this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Megan ReadingInTheSunshine TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I was SO intrigued by the description for Kindred, it caught my attention straight away and I was keen to dive straight in to this!

Dana and her husband are moving into their apartment on her 26th birthday. But when she begins to feel dizzy, she falls to her knees and realises things are not what they seem. She suddenly finds herself back in time in a terrifying situation, and when she travels back to her apartment Dana is very frightened – and it soon happens again. As Dana continues to travel and spend time in 19th century Maryland, she discovers just how dangerous it is and that her life may be over before it has even begun…

I really LOVED the idea of this, it was so intriguing that Dana kept being pulled back in time and at the beginning I had so many questions in my mind – why was Dana being pulled back in time? Why 19th century Maryland in particular? Would she survive during her travel as she was in so much danger? Would Dana be able to figure out why she was being sent back in time? Would she be able to help the people in the past? I was instantly hooked by this and I was always desperate to read on to find out what would happen to Dana.

Octavia writes the historical part so well. I’m going to warn you all – it is terrifying and horrific, but I think it is realistically written and Octavia portrays an accurate picture of what life was like for the slaves back in 19th century Maryland. It made me very emotional, I was horrified and upset by the way the people were treated, and I spent much of the novel feeling upset on their behalf at the unfair and cruel ways they were treated and the ways they suffered.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
I had never read any books by this author before, or indeed much black literature. The writing is superb, the storyline fascinating and exciting. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Carol Croft
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
I finished this book more than a week ago and I'm still thinking about it. It was totally gripping and the method of writing got me involved with Dana, the heroine, from the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ian Elves
3.0 out of 5 stars It Was Okay
The beginning had me hooked, but then I started to get bored with the storyline. I found the character that is Rufus very irritating and really deserving a "fiction slap". Read more
Published 2 months ago by Peanut Butter
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Reissued
Kindred is a time travel book, though the mechanics of temporal dislocation are largely irrelevant. The point of the book is that a black woman from 1976 travels back to the 1800s,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Quicksilver
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting concept.
This book was a cross between 'The Time-traveller's Wife' and all the slave novels that are fashionable now. The problem is that there's not a great deal of characterisation. Read more
Published 3 months ago by lindsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Really cleverly and intelligently done!
Wow! This was really good and so cleverly done and intelligently thought out.

I loved the concept of Kindred, of Dana going back in time to make sure that the right... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Laura's little book blog
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Writing for fans of Outlander
As a huge fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon I’m always on the look out for something that has a similar flavour but also takes its own path as worlds not only collide... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
5.0 out of 5 stars An SF Classic
This is an incredible book. Octavia Butler was one of lamentably few female African American SF writers, who justly became famous for the way her books unflinchingly deal with... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jonathan Thornton
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather strange?
I read this book to share with a book club in San Diego, otherwise I would never have chosen it.
I found the beginning and end of the trapped arm very odd, but it made a full... Read more
Published on 1 Nov 2011 by Ann Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars slavery as experienced by a modern black woman - 150 years in the past
If you are a connoisseur of slave narratives, this novel is an absolute must-read: a modern woman is somehow transported through time by an ancestor, whenever he is in need of help... Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2011 by rob crawford
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