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Kindred

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  45,948 Ratings  ·  5,587 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 across the years to save him. After this first summons, Dana is drawn back, again and again, to the pl
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Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 20th 1997 by Beacon Press (first published June 1st 1979)
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Candace I don't think the plot gave away any surprise. Quite early in the book you know what she is doing and why. It is how she does it and the struggles she…moreI don't think the plot gave away any surprise. Quite early in the book you know what she is doing and why. It is how she does it and the struggles she goes through as a black woman during slavery times that, to me, is the basis of the book. (less)

Community Reviews

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Rick Riordan
Jul 10, 2016 Rick Riordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Parable of the Sower, I had to go right out and buy Butler’s most famous novel Kindred. I was not disappointed. It is amazing that this book was written in 1976 and feels just as fresh and timely in 2016. Dana, a young African American woman who has just started a career as a writer in California, is suddenly and inexplicably yanked back in time to Maryland in 1815, where she must save a white boy named Rufus from drowning.

This becomes only the first of many time traveling episodes
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Emily May
Mar 08, 2016 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The ease. Us, the children… I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery.”

Butler 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
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Lyn
Jul 31, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ill
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M—
Jul 22, 2008 M— rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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
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Cecily

description

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 educa
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Carol.
Jun 14, 2014 Carol. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 inspired a number of recommendations for Butler an ...more
Apatt
Apr 02, 2012 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Christy
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
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Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)


I remember the astonished fear I felt when I read Primo Levi in High-school and realized how easily one can go along with dehumanization in order to save his life. As much as we humans like hiding behind false truths, we're merely trying to go easy on ourselves and to maintain our breakable feeling of control. We don't control shit. From the moment I read Holocaust accounts, I've met a lot of people assuring me that these days wouldn't ever happen again because people would fight harder and long
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Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
"I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery."

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

This was such an excellent book.

Kindred tells the story of Dana Franklin, a black woman who is suddenly whisked back in time from 1976 to pre-Civil War Maryland in 1815.

This novel is a beautifully elegant analysis of a not-so-beautiful period in American history. Using a prominent element of Science Fiction, Butler confronts the poisonous attitudes & double standards that are propagated by raci
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Richard Derus
Feb 14, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BkC10) KINDRED by Octavia E. Butler: Excellent!!

I still agree with myself. And what better review for Valentine's Day than this time-travel novel in which a modern-day African-American woman is summoned by her slave-owning ancestor to rescue him at critical moments, and then must pimp her slave ancestress to the slave owner to ensure that she is born?

Rating: 4.75* of five

The Publisher Says: The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American lit
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Joe
Dec 18, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, there was Kindred, a grueling plunge into American slavery with a fantastic twist. One of the great time travel novels, right there with Time and Again and 11/22/63. Aspects of the narrative might be too agonizing for the tender at heart, but I was with it all the way, from first sentence to last.
Raeleen Lemay
Feb 18, 2017 Raeleen Lemay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending was a bit underwhelming, but other than that I loved this book! In a story like this, getting a detailed explanation for WHY everything is happening is really important to me, and I definitely didn't get that closure. Open endings can be really great, but it wasn't what I wanted from this book.

That being said, the journey was really enjoyable. Tough to read at times, but amazing nonetheless. I can't wait to read more of Butler's books!
Book Riot Community
Kindred is one of those books that feels like it should be required reading for everyone. It’s a page-turning, disturbing, provocative, complex, incredibly smart novel. Technically it’s science fiction, since it involves time travel, but it doesn’t follow a lot of other SF conventions. Dana, an African-American woman living in late 70s LA, is suddenly taken back to Antebellum Maryland, where she saves a young white boy from drowning. Although she is inexplicably whisked home, she is brought back ...more
Taryn
Dec 18, 2016 Taryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without any warning, Dana Franklin is thrust back through time and space. It's 1976 and she's settling into her new California apartment when she starts to feel dizzy. Her modern surroundings fade away and suddenly she's in antebellum Maryland. She seems to be inextricably linked with Rufus Weylin, the young son of a plantation owner. Dana is pulled to Rufus anytime his life is in danger, which happens with surprising frequency. The era is dangerous for Dana--she's black and has no enforceable r ...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
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Brad
Sep 09, 2015 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is pretty much a historical novel with a bit of SF icing, focusing almost exclusively on the relationships built between a mid-1970's modern black woman who is continually sent back in time to save an ancestor from an early death. Unfortunately for her, she's a black woman on a slave plantation, and she's stuck there for a disproportionately long time, sometimes even bringing her white husband back into the past with her and sometimes leaving him behind. Theres a ton of time dilation, where ...more
Sony
Oct 16, 2011 Sony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Nenia *the flagrant liberal* Campbell

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There are a lot of books that talk about the antebellum south, especially in romance novels where it is a popular setting, but few seem to capture the sheer unfairness of what it must have been like as a non-white person living in the South in the nineteenth century. I love Octavia Butler's science fiction, but KINDRED is a book that I purposely put off reading because I'd heard it was brutal. Good, but brutal, and utterly unflinching in th
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Nicole
Mar 15, 2017 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

Wow. Everyone should read this book.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
ETA: This was discussed on Episode 045 of the Reading Envy Podcast.

I had this on my shelf for years, my intended read for Maryland for my ongoing attempt to read a book set in every state. When my Misfit Readers group picked it, I finally picked it up.

I waited too long! This novel is masterful. For people who shy away from science fiction writers, and think of Butler associated with post-apocalyptic religions and alien novels, this would be a better novel to try. There is time travel here but i
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Kaora
Feb 05, 2016 Kaora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So he had called me. I was certain now. The boy drew me to him somehow when he got himself into more trouble than he could handle.

Kindred is my second story by Octavia E. Butler, the first being in the Wastlelands anthology, where her story was one of the few I really liked. This was selected as my work's sci-fi bookclub February read, and honestly I wasn't looking forward to it because I really don't usually enjoy time travel books.

This one though was definitely something different. It was a ve
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Stuart
Kindred: A complex exploration of the slave/slaver relationship
Originally published at Fantasy Literature
Kindred (1979) is Octavia Butler’s earliest stand-alone novel, and though it features time travel, it’s not really SF or fantasy. It’s an exploration of American slavery and its painful legacy from the eyes of a contemporary (well, circa 1976) young black woman named Dana. So don’t expect to learn why she keeps being pulled back in time to a pre-Civil war slave plantation in Maryland every ti
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Merna
There are many books which have very noticeable flaws, but you can’t help but give 5 stars to because they’re so goddamn interesting. Kindred is one of those books which I can overlook for; the semi-weak plot; the secondary characters who have been granted little depth; plot holes; and the overuse of plot mechanism.

The story is just too fascinating and draws you in till the last page. The premise of the story is very simple. Dana, a young and well-educated black women, is sent back in time to he
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Becky
I don't like time paradoxes. They inevitably confuse me and often annoy me, because of the whole massive plot hole thing. That's one of the handful of reasons I never got around to reading this book despite it having pretty rave reviews from just about everyone I know of who's read it. But for some reason, even though the fantastical time travel and paradox is central to the story, and there is the plot hole to contend with, it never felt like one of those books that annoy me with its implausibi ...more
Lauren Cecile
Sep 30, 2015 Lauren Cecile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish someone would make this into a movie.
Joe Valdez
Feb 23, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing
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.
Jessica
Mar 14, 2017 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a white American growing up in the late twentieth century, I learned about the horrors of slavery in my history courses, but I think the lessons hit me with a layer of detachment that I imagine may not be the case for many black students studying the same topics. That’s because, even though I was being taught about these terrible events, I was safe in the knowledge that this kind of thing can’t happen to me.

Reading this novel about a contemporary black woman transported from the twentieth
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Barbara (The Bibliophage)
The premise of Kindred sounds simple enough, but the actual book is undeniably complex and layered. Dana Franklin, a black woman from 1976, is repeatedly drawn back through time to a pre-Civil War South plantation where her ancestors lived. Her first-person account gives readers a modern perspective on the cultural differences between black and white, slave and free, early 19th and late 20th century. Author Octavia Butler called it "grim fantasy," and I'd certainly agree with that description. B ...more
Lily
We are the latest in a long line of strangers.

Most of us are acquainted with our parents. Many of us have met at least a subset of our grandparents. But our firsthand knowledge plummets with every generation beyond that. Some of those people in the distance may have left us anecdotes or documents or china collections, but most of them only left us with genes. How many voyagers and conquerors, wearers of shackles and cloth stars, came together to bring about each of us? Could we ever know?

Do we
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http://octaviabutler.org/

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.
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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.” 48 likes
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