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4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  37,755 Ratings  ·  4,505 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 stays ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Beacon Press (first published June 1st 1979)
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Emily May
Mar 28, 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
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
Jul 22, 2008 M— rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2016 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


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
Feb 24, 2016 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
Richard Derus
Jul 17, 2016 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

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
Jul 16, 2016 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
Dec 11, 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
Sep 15, 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
Book Riot Community
I admit that I am usually too hesitant to pick up books about slavery. This year I’m trying to get over my hesitation and this was one of my biggest overlooked books. Even though it’s a few decades old, Kindred really holds up. Every time I thought it might be getting a little problematic, it was just me not seeing that Butler was setting me up to address the very issue that was making me uncomfortable. She stares harsh truths and prejudices right in the face and she also creates a story you can ...more
Feb 27, 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
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
Apr 12, 2016 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to come...
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
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
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
May 21, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is sci-fi/fantasy written by a black woman and very effective it is too. The concept is an interesting one. There is an interview with Octavia Butler where she speaks about hearing a Black Power activist criticize his ancestors who submitted to slavery and did not fight back enough; she wondered how he would have coped if he had lived in those times and an idea was born.
The novel starts in 1976; Dana is a black woman married to a white man (Kevin) and living in California. Suddenly and with
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
this is brutal. brutal brutal brutal.

proper review

i think i've read my share of slave narratives, though of course i could read many many more, and i must say to my shame that i never felt the horror. i don't know if it's a question of habituation -- a tolerance we develop because of repeated representation -- of historical distance, or the fact that the people who suffered this tragedy didn't look like me. it may well be habituation. shamefully, i don't feel much empathy when i read shoah narr
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
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.
Lindsey Rey
Jul 30, 2015 Lindsey Rey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2015
[4.5 Stars]
Janice C.
Apr 23, 2008 Janice C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.

Kind of engrossing but not in an enjoyable sort of way, the main characters were far too unlikeable and frustrating to fully enjoy the story, everything they said and did irked me in some way or another. On the plus side, the premise, the setting, and certain secondary characters managed to more than hold my interest and were enough incentive to keep me reading.

-Thought the premise was really interesting, with a black woman (Dana) from the 1970's travelling back in time to the antebellum
Joe Valdez
Dec 23, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
There are many books which have easily 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 women, is sent back in time to help h
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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.
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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.” 44 likes
“Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of "wrong" ideas.” 20 likes
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