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Kindred

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  123,133 ratings  ·  13,740 reviews
Octavia E. Butler's 1979 masterpiece and ground-breaking exploration of power and responsibility, for fans of The Handmaid's Tale, The Power and Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing. With an original foreword by Ayòbámi Adébáyò.

In 1976, Dana dreams of being a writer. In 1815, she is assumed a slave.

When Dana first meets Rufus on a Maryland plantation, he's drowning. She saves his life -
...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Headline (first published June 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)
Aaron Tidball This book is definitely for an older reader - the book includes rape, beatings, and mutilations. Racially charged language including frequent use of t…moreThis book is definitely for an older reader - the book includes rape, beatings, and mutilations. Racially charged language including frequent use of the "N-word" may be problematic if your family has not discussed race in depth before. I would suggest at least 16 if a solo read, maybe 14-15 if you have a mature child and plan to discuss it with them as they go.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  123,133 ratings  ·  13,740 reviews


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Emily May
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, 2016, sci-fi
“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 sto
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Rick Riordan
Jul 10, 2016 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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Miranda Reads
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
description

“Better to stay alive," I said. "At least while there's a chance to get free."
Dana and her husband just settled into their first house together when she...disappeared.

Like, literally disappeared. One minute she was there and the next minute she was rescuing a drowning white boy.

And when she turns around, she gets called the n-word by his parents as they demand an explanation for a slave to be out and about like she is.

And then she zips back to the future to her white husban
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Lyn
Jul 31, 2015 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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Adina
Later Edit: I've thought about this review a lot and I think I regret the tone I used. I stand by what I wrote about the novel but I might have been too aggressive which is not really me. However, people found their thoughts in my review so it is going to stay. Please do not take this review as personal attack if you liked this novel as it is not meant to be.

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? Har
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carol.
Jun 14, 2014 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
M—
Jul 22, 2008 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
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Cecily


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 educ
...more
Apatt
Apr 02, 2012 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
Justin Tate
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 firs
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Maxwell
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This should be required reading in high school. I feel like if teachers used material like this, students would be a lot more engaged. It’s a fascinating blend of genres and such an interesting perspective with which she examines slavery. Very immersive and horrifying, but it really humanizes the past. Would highly recommend and am eager to read more from Butler’s backlist.
Thomas
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: Ninoshkka
I wish we could read more authors like Octavia Butler, bell hooks, and Celeste Ng in our English classes instead of white men like Ernest Hemingway. I loved Kindred because it uses the science-fiction/fantasy genre to expose the cruelties and horrors of slavery and racism in an innovative way. Similar to what author Viet Thanh Nguyen writes in his book Nothing Ever Dies , the United States's education system often informs us of issues like war and slavery through a sanitized, depoliticized le ...more
Julie
Reading Road Trip 2020

Current location: Maryland

Octavia E. Butler's biography could just break your damn heart.

Her father died when she was 10, she had no siblings, her family was poor.

She was a self-described “loner,” a woman who was tall and awkward and friendless. From the recent bits and pieces I researched, as I started this novel, I gathered that her romantic life was either private or nonexistent. (Was she gay? Asexual? Sickly?) As far as I could tell, she had substantial medical issues a
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Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘


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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Elyse  Walters
Audiobook/sync/ebook

Voice narrator Kim Staunton was outstanding....
Absolutely fantastic!
At times I felt like I was watching a movie.... and Staunton had a lot to do with the ‘movie-feeling’ experience. She demanded my attention- I even stood taller while soaking in our warm water pool.

The time travel/fantasy/historical fiction blend worked beautifully... kept me interested.
Dana Franklin is a strong protagonist - a black woman married to a white man during the 70’s.
Each time she is thrown bac
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Joe
Dec 18, 2016 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. ...more
Christy
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Wif
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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 racism
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Dolors
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi and history? It's possible
Shelves: read-in-2019
Kindred is a hybrid novel, difficult to categorize. Partly science-fiction, partly historical novel, it addresses race, gender and class issues in the context of slavery but, and this is the complexity of this book, in two timelines, antebellum Maryland and modern California.

Butler, far from trying to make sense of time travel and how it suddenly affects the protagonist of the story, uses the sci-fi device to transport a free Afro-American woman to a colonial plantation near Baltimore to explor
...more
Richard Derus
Feb 14, 2012 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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Nadine X
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
Lauren Cecile
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish someone would make this into a movie.
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ 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
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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
Liz
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2018

In honor of Science Fiction and Fantasy Week, I am finally taking this book from my TBR queue and actually reading it. The author called this a “grim fantasy” and the description fits. I’m not a big fan of SF or fantasy, but a dear friend of mine has been touting this book for ages and it’s time for me to set aside the netgalley queue for a few days.

Dana becomes the victim of unwanted time travel. She doesn’t know why it’s happening but all of a sudden she’s being transported back to early 1800
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Octavia Butler's Kindred, but it might disappoint those who are expecting what is billed as science fiction. Despite writing a novel based on time travel, Butler never addresses the mechanics of this time travel or whether perhaps there is something about the protagonist, Dana Franklin, which triggers it. Instead, Butler relies on establishing a bond between Dana and the boy she rescues the first time she is thrust into the past. This does not detract at all from the emotional impact o ...more
Bradley
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
Taryn
Dec 18, 2016 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
Brian
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“She had done the safe thing-had accepted a life of slavery because she was afraid.”

“Kindred” is a novel I would not have picked up on my own, but it was a book club selection so I dutifully read it. Although I do not think it is a great text, it is a good story. When I accepted the limitations inherent in a story about time travel, and focused on the aspects of the writing that are quite good, and not those that are weak, I found I read it quickly and was no worse for the wear.
In short, the sto
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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.

After her father died, Butler was raised by her widowed mother. Extremely shy as a child, Octavia found an outlet at the li
...more

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