!DOWNLOAD EPUB ♺ Kindred ♵ The First Science Fiction Written By A Black Woman, Kindred Has Become A Cornerstone Of Black American Literature This Combination Of Slave Memoir, Fantasy, And Historical Fiction Is A Novel Of Rich Literary Complexity Having Just Celebrated Her Th Birthday In California, Dana, An African American Woman, Is Suddenly And Inexplicably Wrenched Through Time Into Antebellum Maryland After Saving A Drowning White Boy There, She Finds Herself Staring Into The Barrel Of A Shotgun And Is Transported Back To The Present Just In Time To Save Her Life During Numerous Such Time Defying Episodes With The Same Young Man, She Realizes The Challenge She S Been Given To Protect This Young Slaveholder Until He Can Father Her Own Great Grandmother
On October 5, 2004, Octavia E Butler visited my graduate university to give a lecture and book signing I was really impressed by her She actually spent several hours at the university, giving a public interview with one of the professors, then a short lecture to a large auditorium, then a book signing I even skipped class in order to attend The interview was really fascinating, where Butler answered questions about how she worked to write Kindred and how she felt about the characters and how the result all turned out The professor kind of threw Butler for a loop once, when she pulled an interpretation of the book out of left field, and Butler blinked, and slowly said she didn t write with that interpretation at all in mind, but that she was of the opinion that any interpretation the reader reaches is a valid one I thought she handled the question particularly well In the lecture, Butler talked mostly about how she writes, her writing style, her relationship with her fans, and the book she was currently writing, Fledgling. The signing afterwards was very informal, but I didn t try to stay and chat Butler had lots of professors and awestruck students who were all trying to catch her attention I got my book signed, said a polite thank you, and left happy Fledgling turned out to be the last book Butler wrote She died unexpectedly in early 2006 I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to meet her The book Was good A time traveling story dealing with love, gender, race, racism, and responsibility It was beautifully and rather painfully done I never would have found it if it hadn t been for the author visit, and I m rather sad about that. Octavia Butler is an amazing writer If you enjoy reading SF F, or even an interest in speculative fiction, you would like her work.Kindred, first published in 1979, would become her most best selling novel.This is also a painful book to read because of its graphic depiction of slavery and Butler wastes no time in demonizing what was demonic Describing the slave life from the perspective of a time travelling modern woman, Butler s strong narrative prose is in high form for a low burden to illustrate to contemporary readers the horrors of slavery and in this context to draw a comparison with life of our time, making the transition to the early 1800s all the stark and evil in contrast.Kindred is also an allegory for our modern times, still burdened by the wounds of slavery and a racial consciousness in our society that has scars that won t heal Butler shows us, though, that we as a nation and a people are bound, as kindred, between races and with a shared history.Back in the 90s I was working in Washington DC and I had the opportunity to meet a group of folks from Africa Multi lingual with French predominant among the diplomats I found the people I met worldly, intelligent, generous and interesting to talk to and they were singularly not American I think this was the first time I had met a large group of people from another continent and the idea struck me how much closer I was to my black neighbors than I was to these people I had just met Butler adeptly reveals in Kindred, in multiple ways, the many degrees of our shared humanity But narrowly, Butler is pointing out our kinship as Americans, dates like 1976 and July 4th must be intentional, how the shared history of slavery between black Americans and white Americans has bound us together.Butler also, once again, has created a strong female protagonist in Dana whose endurance and courage are remarkable, made evident by the fact that she has a unique viewpoint Dana, in some respects, becomes a symbol of a present day African American woman, both made stronger from her heritage, but also still bearing the wounds of past wrongs.Kindred also displays Butler s amazing talents in storytelling, using dramatic irony expertly A reader may notice a subtle, though strangely twisted reference to a scene in Lee s To Kill a Mockingbird.Introspective and somber, with many questions that remain unanswered, Kindred is a powerful work told by an artist of genius ability. DNF at 50% with some skipping What came first, the egg or the chicken What came first, the badly written book or the reading slump Hard questions to answer but one thing is certain It definitely did not help forcing me to reach 50% of this book I only did it because of my rating rule and because I wanted to bitch about it So here it is again the time for an unpopular opinion I though this book to be TERRIBLE I don t even know with what to start I understand it is written by a woman of color in a time when it was an extraordinary accomplishment I get and admire that I also get that she had an agenda to prove how easily one can accept slavery, even in our modern world However, the above is not a relevant excuse for bad writing, cartoonish characters, poorly conceived plot and ridiculous dialogue Also, the use of time travel had nothing to do with SF, there was no explanation of the phenomenon, and it was only a lazy gimmick to prove her point Yes, others used it as well but better, in my opinion Let s start with the plot We are in 1976 America, a young black woman is married with a white man and she suddenly starts to repeatedly go back in time in the antebellum South so she can save a child and later young man who proves to be her ancestor It quickly becomes obvious that she has to save him every time he is in trouble, otherwise she would not exist in the present time So far so good, the premise sounds interesting Too bad the execution was poor Firstly, the two pair accepted way to easy the time travelling part The same happened with the people in the past You tell me that a person in the 19th century would not freak out and try to murder any source of such an abomination The dialogues between the husband and wife after the first two times she comes back are laughable At first he doesn t believe her although she disappeared and then he doesn t understand why she is scared Really I would lose control of myself it that happened, screaming my ass into a mental hospital Later, when they both land in the past, I could not believe how easily they get used to the roles they had to play there, her as a slave and him as the white master I totally understand that she had to lay low in order to survive but that doesn t mean she had to be acceptant in her mind or find excuses for that little piece of shit, Rufus And to convinced Alice that is ok to be raped so you can survive Nope.I disliked all the characters, especially Dana and her detachment the author did not make me feel anything except annoyance I know I am in minority here but it can t be helped, I can t find many positive thoughts about this novel. I had no idea what Kindred is about prior to reading it, I previously read Octavia Butler s Wild Seed and thought it was marvelous, and Kindred seems to be her most popular work judging by Goodreads ratings So buying a copy of Kindred without knowing anything about it was a no brainer I even deliberately avoided looking at the book s synopsis before hand, I just wanted to get to know the book as I read on I hoped for a pleasant surprise, which I did get This is only the second Octavia Butler book I have read and I already worship her.Kindred is about Dana, an African American woman who finds herself time travelling involuntarily to Maryland in the early nineteenth century It is not explained how or why this happen to her, the mechanic of it is entirely irrelevant to the story The novel is about her experience of slavery in the past Her fate becomes intertwined with Rufus, a white ancestor who is the only son of a plantation owner and who somehow triggers her time traveling trips every time he is in mortal danger, a situation that arises frequently to him than to most people While there she experiences the woes of slavery first hand, including whipping, beating, degradation and humiliation.This is a harrowing and emotional read, I almost cry manly tears during some of the chapters I never pondered what it may have been like to be a slave, it is not exactly a contingency which is at all likely to ever arise However, Ms Butler genius that she was made me feel it through the eyes of her protagonist The pains and humiliation of slavery resonates with me even though there ought to be nothing to resonate I kind of winced every time a stroke of a whip is described This is not a comfortable read but highly engrossing and thought provoking The book is very much character centric, the relationship between Dana and Rufus is very complex and fascinating Dana s husband Kevin who also become embroiled in time traveling and is marooned in the nineteenth century for years without his wife adds to her complications, his reaction to returning to the present time 1976 is entirely believable and again resonates strongly.The book reminds me a little of Connie Willis s excellent Doomsday Book, which is about time travelling to the fourteenth century and also a harrowing yet wonderful read, though the emphasis of that book is on poverty, hardship and diseases rather than slavery The involuntary time traveling aspect of the book reminds me of Audrey Niffenegger s The Time Traveler s Wife, though Kindred predates it, and Kindred is certainly not a romantic book Octavia Butler was not one of those literary writers who try to avoid the science fiction label like the plague even while using sf tropes in their works, she has always loved sf and gladly embraced the genre see photo below That said, Kindred is also not science fiction The author described it as a grim fantasy and deliberately did not put any science in it, it is described by some literary critics as a neo slave narrative I did consider why the book was written as a fantasy or almost sf instead of historical fiction, then I realised that it was probably done so the modern reader can experience the nineteenth century Maryland through the protagonist s contemporary eyes, this makes the book very visceral.While the book was written to make the reader ponder some serious issues such as man s inhumanity to man, inequality and courage in an environment where you are made to feel worthless, at no point did I feel like being lectured to The author knows the importance of communicating through the story, and I was completely swept away by it Whatever I read next will likely suffer from being compared to this book This goes in my all time greats list.Notes From Tor.com Octavia Butler Will Change the Way You Look at Genre Fiction HERE is another reason to love Octavia Butler Interesting background info from The Portalist Kindred was inspired by the time a very young Butler spent with her mother at work Butler told In Motion Magazine in 2004 that a lot of the motivation behind her novel Kindred came when I was in preschool, when my mother used to take me to work with her Kindred follows Dana, a writer who travels back in time to the antebellum South and meets her ancestors, a white plantation owner and a Black slave The novel argues for the courageousness of people existing under unimaginable circumstances, as Dana makes compromises in order to survive slavery Butler s own mother was a housemaid, and many of Butler s earliest memories were of the degradations her mother endured at work She told In Motion that witnessing the racism her mother put up with in order to bring Butler a better life helped inspire much of Kindred s message I got to see her not hearing insults and going in back doors, and even though I was a little kid, I realized it was humiliating I knew something was wrong, it was unpleasant, it was bad I remember saying to her a little later, at seven or eight, I ll never do what you do, what you do is terrible And she just got this sad look on her face and didn t say anything I think it was the look and the memory of the indignities she endured I just remembered that and wanted to convey that people who underwent all this were not cowards, were not people who were just too pathetic to protect themselves, but were heroes because they were using what they had to help their kids get a little further Excellent Kindred Infographic with spoilers click on image to see full size. Octavia Butler amazes me She writes science fiction that is full of complicated ideas about race and sexuality that are completely readable I ll innocently start reading, thinking only to get a solid start on the book, and suddenly discover I m halfway through the story That isn t to imply she s a light weight, however her works are emotionally and ethically dense, the subject of numerous high school and college essays A recent read of Dawn inspired a number of recommendations for Butler and a buddy read of her book Kindred Full reviews at my blog Because 1 gr can t have my reviews, 2 because I don t feel like being censored according to some twit s whims. I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery. I wanted to love this book I knew the slave narrative might be harrowing though it s not overly graphic , but it has an average GR rating over four stars, features time travel dilemmas, has a strong, intelligent, kind, and practical female protagonist, and gives thought provoking insights into the complexity of US race relations in the 1800s and, to a lesser extent, the 1970s It is a good and powerful, exciting and educational book But something didn t quite connect for me I hoped that composing my thoughts would make me see it in a favourable light and it has Perhaps I just read it too fast to digest it properly.Kindred One word, seven letters, but several interpretations, all with emotional impact The most common and literal meaning relates to ties of blood our immediate family The kindred we can t choose, even if we hate or despise them But blood is too narrow to include one s partner, or any adopted children, honorary uncles and aunts, or step parents And what about children born to slave women who could never claim their father owner s family as kindred, even if they wanted to So it widens to kindred spirits our closest friends and allies, with whom we share attitudes, experiences, and interests Regardless of biological parentage, a slave child s kindred can only be fellow slaves Ultimately, Butler s message is that black and white and brown and pink and yellow , male and female and everything else , we are all kindred One race the human race Race as a social construct See Live Science and Bill Nye This is not a Christian book, and I am not a Christian person, but I was reminded of the message of Jesus parable of The Good Samaritan The man who asked Who is my neighbour was shown that the answer was everyone in need That s a tough message to apply, but given the turmoil in the word right now, it is as important as it ever was Plot No SpoilersThe book is easy to summarise in a way that gives no spoilers than the first three pages and back cover Dana is a 26 year old middle class African American living in 1976 LA with her white husband, Kevin Somehow, she comes unstuck in time like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five and Henry in The Time Traveller s Wife and suddenly finds herself on a plantation in Maryland in 1815 This happens several times, over twenty years of 19th century time, with the usual issues and dilemmas of time travel, but that is just the mechanism for depicting the horrors of slavery, and the complex power and sexual relationships that result, as well as exploring the source of hatred nature versus nurture , acquiescence, revenge, and the types and possibility of redemption and freedom Kindred is historical and political adventure than sci fi It s fast paced and, despite the subject, quite an easy read And the ending is satisfying, but not ludicrously sentimental or tidy.Owning and Being OwnedIn 1976, Dana is proud of her independence, having repeatedly fought to do what she wanted, rather than settle for what was expected In the 19th century, she has to consider the terrifying risks and consequences of striving for even a tiny bit of independence The power play between master and slave can acquire aspects of Stockholm Syndrome.Although the story is told by Dana and she is the central character, at least as important is Rufus Weyland, son of the plantation owner The way his attitude and behaviour change as he grows up is echoed in the recent The Help, though it is complex here As a small child, he s allowed to have slave children as friends, even as his father buys and sells their families, beats and sleeps with them Gradually, Rufus develops an unrequited destructive single minded love for two women that I never fully understood With one woman, it s sexual, so he repeatedly rapes her There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one Of course, Rufus doesn t think of it as rape because she doesn t try to stop him and, importantly, he owns her So the woman endures, but She forgave him nothing, forgot nothing Dana sees how manipulative Rufus is, she experiences it herself She sees the bad in him and occasionally slivers of good She tries to enlighten him, but is remarkably forgiving when he follows in his father s footsteps More so than I could be, which is perhaps another reason why it didn t quite ring true for me He s of his Time Does that make it OK He wasn t a monster at all Just an ordinary man who sometimes did the monstrous things his society said were legal and proper. A common debate on GR and in the wider world yes, there is one, I m led to believe , is to what extent we judge those in the past by the standards of our time Should we cast aside books by people who we now know had hateful views and who maybe did hateful deeds Should books about the past be sanitised and redacted to make them acceptable to modern sensibilities Dana is confronted by this dilemma in a direct and personal way She wants to teach Rufus to think of and treat his slaves kindly, but as his views become darker and complicated, her opinion of him is ever conflicted exacerbated by the power he has over her How much of what happens can be blamed on the surrounding cultural norms Does a slave owner who beats relatively rarely and gently deserve leniency Identity Colour, Gender, Social Rank, AncestryWho is Dana, and how free is she In both periods she can be seen as, and is sometimes called, a white nigger In 1815, she is assumed to be a slave just because of her colour, all the inferior because she s female But the fact she talks white and educated causes confusion, resentment, and conflict And she comes to realise that even in 1976, she is not entirely free of her heritage, despite her relative detachment from it though she has read at least some of her ten books about black history even before she has a specific need to do so.There are similar questions for many other characters, especially slaves who consider running away in the hope of freedom or death , those who stay because they want to keep their children, and those who trade privilege and suffering such as sleeping with a boss they hate to have slightly gentler conditions.I could write a whole review about her husband, Kevin how he and their marriage is changed by her experiences, and his But I won t this time it s interesting and important, but secondary The other huge aspect is ancestry, and how that defines one s identity, both in terms of racial identity, but also in terms of character What if you are appalled by who and what your forebears do are and do An issue those who research their family trees often have to face Words and LanguageThis is a book you read for the ideas and story, rather than the language But Butler makes her words work in a book that s barely 300 pages a single word title, and short, elemental chapter titles The River, The Fire, The Fall, The Fight, The Storm, The Rope Of course, the N word is used frequently Given the setting, it would be bizarre if it were not.Human PantoneThe image at the top is from this short blog post about race it is actually part of Ang lica Daas Human Pantone art project, which I saw on posters in Bilbao earlier this year A unique look at slave era America thanks to a time traveling twist Should be shelved with the classics Riveting from the first page and doesn t let up.I m always a fan of throwing in a little sci fi, but here it really, really works Most novels on this subject tend to look at race relations from one time period Nothing wrong with that, but there was something wholly shocking and eye opening about having these characters hop from a modern 1970s lens to pre Civil War society.This is my first Octavia E Butler novel but I m already a huge fan Which of her books should I read next The ease Us, the children I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slaveryButler is an author that constantly pops up on Best sci fi and Must Read African American authors lists and I can finally see why This book may be my first by her, but it won t be my last Kindred is a fascinating, horrific journey through a dark time in American history, combining eye opening historical research with time travel.I suppose some modern readers will want to compare this story to Outlander and there are some similarities a woman trying to survive in the past, lots of blood soaked history and horror, the harsh realities of being who you are in that time but not only did this book come first, but it is far distressing, tied in with historical truth, and way about surviving than it is about lusty scenes with a kilted hot dude.It s a really important what if book about race What if a modern black woman suddenly found herself transported 150 years into the past, right into the centre of the antebellum South The book doesn t shy away from portraying the realities of that nothing is sugar coated, be prepared for some upsetting scenes But it s also than a gruesome look at historical racism and violence There are many complex and interesting characters both slaves and slave owners Butler has written a book that goes deeper than surface level, exploring how people come to accept slavery as the norm and to justify poor treatment of slaves Dana is horrified how easy it is And so was I.Kindred is so good because, not only is it well written and emotionally effective, but it also manages to be several different important things complex historical fiction, intriguing science fiction, and a memoir of slavery For a novel so obviously fictional, it feels very real and true Maybe because, sadly, most of it is I know this is one book that will stay with me for a long time.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Store Kindred is about a woman named Dana who gets transported time travels back to the past She travels way back to the time when her great great grandparents were alive This also happens to be a time of slavery Dana is a black woman from the 1970 s who is married to a white man Each time she is thrown into the past, she has to learn how to live and survive in this time while staying true to herself I love books about time travel One of my top favorite reads of all time The Time Travelers Wife has it This was very different from that book, but I still love that aspect of the story Kindred is such an interesting book It really made me think and it s a story that I know will stay with me I have never read a book quite like it before Dana time travels back whenever her ancestor is in trouble It can be days later for her, but years have passed in the past It boggles the mind It s heartbreaking and painful to know that things like this really happened in the not so far back past I loved Dana s character and how strong and steadfast she was She stole the show Rufus is a character you loved to hate I actually loved seeing him through Dana s eyes I wish Kevin s character would have been developed but a part of me thinks he was there to show how much things had changed from the past to the present time Kindred is part historical fiction and part sci fi It s a complex story that s thrilling, intense and I couldn t put it down I listened to the audio book and thought the narrator did a fantastic job This is a book I would definitely recommend.