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Kindred

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  27,898 ratings  ·  3,242 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 1979)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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M—
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 ho
...more
Aubrey
4.5/5

Butler's yet another one of those names that I feel I should be hearing float by a lot more frequently than I do. A female person of color who is not only well regarded in the field of science fiction, but also the first science fiction writer to have won the MacArthur "Genius Grant". Much as I am a fan of DFW and Pynchon, their ivory towers of public awareness need little help in terms of circulation via word of mouth.

Now, I like it when my fiction tries to achieve something beyond the bou
...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apatt
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 ...more
Sony
I wanted to love this book. But it has many flaws. I'll get to that in a few, but first, let me gush about what's great about it.

The plot/premise is brilliant. I love the idea of a modern black woman being propelled back into time to help one of her white ancestors to survive, even if he becomes a mean and despicable slave master. I love the fact that it used time travel, which I usually hate, but found tolerable here. I love the observations of the protagonist, Dana. She's an interesting chara
...more
Carol.
Jun 17, 2014 Carol. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Americans who read
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 (review) inspired a number of recommendations for ...more
Janice C.
Apr 23, 2008 Janice C. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want to experience new perspectives on life and being a woman
Recommended to Janice by: Don't remember
The first time I read KINDRED I viscerally identified with the modern day black female heroine (I'm not black but I am a female) who travels, without control, to a past in which she was a slave girl. In the present, she is married to a white man and she is trying to become a writer. Her experiences as a slave shock her into a reality she never suspected.
It's difficult for her to explain to her husband what she is experiencing as she travels back and forth from past to present. And when one day
...more
Bill
I'm sure that if I had created the universe and was looking down on Earth to check up on what my humans were up to, the minute I saw slavery in action, I'd wipe the bastards off the face of the planet and start it over again.

Like Nazism, I still find it hard to accept what human beings are capable of.

I guess that's why at times I'm drawn to stories where terrible things happen to people, in as much an effort to somehow understand it as to root for the oppressed.

This novel delivered somewhat as f
...more
Regina
Time travel is so cool! What beats traveling back several hundred years in to the arms of a handsome Scottish highlander … or traveling back in time to meet your spouse while she is still a child … or traveling in time to solve a supernatural mystery in an attempt to save the future … or traveling back in time to learn of the world’s beginning or forward to witness its collapse. There are so many different ways time travel can come in to play in a story. I honestly thought I had seen and read th ...more
Joe Valdez
Dec 23, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Time travelers, African American studies, science fiction geeks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melki
This book is a gripping, intense tale of a young black woman from 1976 who is repeatedly yanked back to the early 1800's to rescue the life of a slave owner.
The first line of the book is "I lost an arm on my last trip home." Take this as a warning of the kind of ride you will be offered. The author pulls no punches. and her words serve as a vivid reminder of a time in history we would all like to pretend never happened, but should never, never forget.
Kaion
Octavia Butler appears oasis-like as an answer to all that clinical, super-non-human, detached science fiction with Kindred, in which time travel is used to confront our contemporary relationship with the history of slavery.

Dana, a young black writer in 1973, finds herself inexplicably transported to 1820s Maryland just in time save the life of a drowning white boy. This boy, Rufus, is the son of a cruel plantation owner, but also, dismayingly, a long-forgotten ancestor. Try as Dana might to pre
...more
Hend
Although I don’t like science fiction novels,this one was different , Time was an important factor in this one it left its marks on Dana s body and soul,Time damages as well as heals.....
It portrays the horrors of slavery , the loss of humanity.the torturing, the fear of family separation if one of them is sold,
Dana experienced being lashed for nothing ,offenses,beating, The exhausting work in the plantation ....
Octavia doesn’t.make Dana only witnessed all the suffering that all slaves have gon
...more
Ashley
This is straight up going to be one of those reviews where I don’t do the book justice, in this case it’s mostly because I feel kind of overwhelmed by what I just read. I wish I had time to sit down and re-read it, pen in hand, and then attend a series of lecture classes with likeminded people where we totally dissect it and wallow around in its lovely nuance.

Maybe I just miss grad school. (The people and the atmosphere and the stimulating discussion, not the being poor or the research papers, t
...more
TheFountainPenDiva
When I read this back in the 1980's, I didn't think black people wrote science-fiction. Of course, I didn't know that Samuel Delany (another favourite of mine) was black. It seemed the publishers went out of their way to "whitewash" him (not to mention he's also a gay man).

Kindred began my life-long admiration of Octavia Butler and I still feel a deep kinship with this woman whose life in some ways mirrored my own.

It's a time-travel novel that doesn't focus on the time-travel aspect. Instead, w
...more
Christine
Wow... intense book! We're reading this for school, and my teacher has warned us again and again that this book was NOT written for kids... we've learned that already after reading a quarter of the book already! However, I am pretty happy that we're reading this because it goes with our curriculum, and it really is pretty interesting... I actually like reading historical fiction books.... they teach people about history without them having to open a textbook every time....
Anyway, this book is a
...more
Lit Bug
Soft science fiction by eminent SF feminist black author Octavia E. Butler. Would be interesting to basically three types of people - feminists, soft SF buffs and those interested in examining what slavery was like from a closer perspective.

The story is about Dana, a liberated black woman in California in 1973, and her liberal white husband Kevin, and their transformation by their accidental forays into the past, many times, although into the same place and same people, but at different points i
...more
Adrienne
I was a captive audience of one. Science fiction that I love, a female author so rare, setting close to my heart. It started off great, sort of like a really awesome Star Trek: The Next Generation time travel episode. I mean, man, what a premise! Modern black woman goes back in time to rescue an ancestor and slave owner from a death that would lead to her having never being born. And I was totally absorbed in it, until the realization that the highly charged, emotional and traumatic beginning ha ...more
Chris
Everyone should read this book.

Honestly, I can't think of what else to say at this point, except the above statement because it is the simple truth.

In one book, Butler deals with slavery, the impact of slavery, relationships, family, life, love, writing. If Butler had only written this book, it alone would have assured her a place among the stars and poets.
Cher
3.5 stars - It was really good.

The readers's guide at the end of this novel sums up this story quite well: In Kindred, Octavia Butler has designed her own underground railroad between past and present whose terminus is the reawakened imagination of the reader.

I found this book to be fascinating, highly original and thought provoking. The main character, Dana, is an educated black woman, married to a white man in fairly modern times (late 1970's I believe). Suddenly, she starts being inexplicably
...more
Richard Vialet
Great science fiction does more than just entertain. Sometimes, it's used to explore difficult material and ideas about society, past experiences, as well as speculate on where we are headed in the future. Octavia Butler was one of the queens of sci-fi and Kindred is considered by many to be her masterpiece. It is one of the examples of great science fiction that goes beyond pure entertainment. It shines a light on what is possibly the most difficult and taboo topic in American history: slaver ...more
bookczuk
When this book arrived, I picked it up, skipped past the introduction and came to the first two sentences of the prologue.

"I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm"

Reading that, I knew I had to read this book- just to see what had happened.

This is not an easy book to read, because of the subject matter. The phrase "man's inhumanity to man" takes on real meaning. I have never been able to comprehend how one culture or ethnic group can actually believe that another , different one is not h
...more
Candi
This was an interesting concept for a novel. Dana, a black woman living in 1970's California, is transported back in time to the 1820's slave state of Maryland when she is "called" to aid her distant relative, Rufus, who is drowning. Dana makes several trips back and forth between her own time and her ancestor's time, whenever her ancestor's life seems to be in danger. These trips are traumatic and dangerous for Dana as she is forced to live on a plantation and see first-hand the brutalities of ...more
Megan
Another book for class which I will review when I read it again. Just a short review for now...

It took awhile to get into this book and some chapters seemed to drag on but I still really enjoyed the book. It took a very interesting and unique perspective on slavery in the old south by having the main character from the 1970s travel back in time as a slave. The only problem was the book lacked a lot of character development and while I liked a lot of the characters the story I felt like the story
...more
Chanda
Although I couldn't stop listening to this one I can't say why. The story didn't have a great plot but it was an interesting vantage point from which to tell the story of slavery. The ultimate problem with this book is that the men in it are so terrificly annoying that you find them unbearable in spite of the fact that they dont' technically exist. They're really such whiners, pissing and moaning about their lot in life. And the problem with that is it isn't even the enslaved men doing the whini ...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
Feb 20, 2009 Tattered Cover Book Store added it
Recommended to Tattered Cover by: Chuck R
Shelves: staff-recommends
I feel that many female sci-fi authors have wider appeal than their male counterparts. This is especially true of Octavia Butler (and Ursula K LeGuin, but that's for another review) and 'Kindred' is no exception. This book follows a modern black woman who is suddenly transported back to the deep south during slavery and saves the life of a young white son of a slave owner. The woman, Dana, keeps getting sent back for longer and longer periods, to help the past but to also save her present/future ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
I feel like devoting your life to books and having a healthily skeptical disposition go hand in hand. Granted, there are those who have spent their whole life reading the works of the dead white guys and nothing else, but that's entirely their loss. I know that for me, the more I question the dead-white-guys narrative, the more I read outside of them, and the more I read outside of them, the more I question their narrative. Granted, it's gonna be a while before I balance out, since I don't even ...more
Alicja
rating: 5.5/5

Oh wow! That was a really intense ride through time and space (and no Doctor is sight)! Dana, a 26 year old black woman living in 1976 California, keeps getting pulled back in time to save the life of Rufus, her white slave-owning ancestor in Maryland.

Butler is a beautiful writer, bringing the antebellum South come to life. We witness it from a modern woman's perspective, assessed from a depth of complex human interactions and dependency on others. It was a cruel time, unforgiving b
...more
Kim

This is a powerful book. In simple prose, free from literary flourishes, Butler tells an amazing tale. Or rather, she doesn't tell the tale: she allows her central character, Dana, to tell the story for her. Written as a memoir, the story unfolds entirely from Dana's point of view. The reader is there with her as she describes her experiences of travel in space and time, from her present as a young black writer in 1976 California to life on a plantation in antebellum Maryland. Dana’s experiences
...more
Roy
An excellent novel that wonderfully blends science fiction with literary fiction. The science fiction aspect is pretty spare for although the concept of time travel is critical to the narrative, the author does not go into much detail about it. It simply happens for reasons that are left unexplained physically (Why bother explaining the impossible anyway? Doesn't make it any more plausible) but make sufficient sense for the reader to easily accept. The main character (Dana, a black woman recentl ...more
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Octavia Estelle Butler was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.
More about Octavia E. Butler...
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“Better to stay alive," I said. "At least while there's a chance to get free." I thought of the sleeping pills in my bag and wondered just how great a hypocrite I was. It was so easy to advise other people to live with their pain.” 27 likes
“...I realized that I knew less about loneliness than I had thought - and much less than I would know when he went away.” 13 likes
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