by Octavia Butler

Dale Israel: “Kindred” by Octavia Butler is a combination of time travel and African American literature. Quite frankly, I was a little skeptical when a co-worker recommended that I read this book as I’m not a big fan of science fiction, however within a couple of days of beginning this book, I had devoured it! It’s 1976 and Dana, a 26 year old African American woman is just settling into her new California home with her husband Kevin. Without warning Dana becomes dizzy and wakes up in the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner is drowning and Dana has been summoned to save him. This inexplicable nightmarish transit from one place to another is the first of six such episodes of varying duration that make up the bulk of the novel. Dana’s involuntary trips to the past occupy only a few minutes or hours in her life in 1976 but her stay in the alternative time during the time of slavery is stretched as she lives in the past. Sam Frank of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner sums it up best when he writes: “One cannot finish “Kindred” without feeling changed. It is a shattering work of art with much to say about love, hate, slavery, and racial dilemmas, then and now.” Perhaps not quite as good as “Someone Knows My Name” which I recently reviewed, it is still a very compelling read and a book I highly recommend. Enjoy!
Rating: ****

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