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Kindred

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  63,537 Ratings  ·  7,608 Reviews
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 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into ante ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Beacon Press (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…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)

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Rick Riordan
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Emily May
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
“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
...more
Lyn
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...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
...more
Carol.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Adina
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
...more
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
...more
Apatt
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
...more
Christy
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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.
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
...more
Richard Derus
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Joe
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Thomas
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 lens ...more
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
Raeleen Lemay
Feb 18, 2017 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!
Taryn
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Bradley
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Erin
"I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery"

I read Kindred for the first time 12 years ago and I liked it but I didn't really spend a lot of time thinking about it. When I read it all those years ago I was scared about real life troubles. I read this book in my mothers hospital room before, during and after her open heart surgery. Basically I had more important shit to deal with.

I rediscovered Kindred earlier this year when I was going through my storage locker. I too
...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
Nadine X
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Brian
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it
“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
...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
Lauren Cecile
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wish someone would make this into a movie.
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ 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
...more
Ashley
June 2018: I would like to lodge a protest at the start of this review against the practice of writing reviews for books that you have too much to say about. (Often too much to say leads to having nothing to say.) I had a really hard time writing a review for this excellent book the first time I read it. I did an all right job three years ago conveying some of my feelings, but mostly I have so many thoughts and feelings about this book that I literally cannot write them all or you would all be r ...more
Nicole
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Wow. Everyone should read this book.
LENA TRAK
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Octavia Butler is an absolutely brilliant author! I loooooved this book. The story is about a young black woman, Dana who experiences a peculiar and dangerous journey. One minute she is with Kevin, her white husband and the next she finds herself trapped in the hostile South where slavery and misery prevail. As Dana struggles to break free and find her way back home, she discovers that she will have to make compromises to survive.

African-American Fantasy Literature!!!! How cool is that??

Don't m
...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.
“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.” 64 likes
“Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of "wrong" ideas.” 50 likes
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