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Kindred ❴EPUB❵ ✸ Kindred Author Octavia E. Butler – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk 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 lite 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 th birthday in California Dana an African American woman is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland After saving a drowning white boy there she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life During numerous such time defying episodes with the same young man she realizes the challenge she’s been given.


10 thoughts on “Kindred

  1. Rick Riordan Rick Riordan says:

    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 drowningThis becomes only the first of many time traveling episodes for Dana She uickly realizes that Rufus is one of her own ancestors mentioned in the family Bible Somehow they are connected across time because they are kindred To assure her own future Dana must keep Rufus alive until he has children who will some day be Dana’s family line Unfortunately Rufus gets in a lot of troubleOnly moments pass in the modern world each time Dana is called away but months or even years pass in the world of 1815 Dana watches Rufus grow from a little boy into an adult slave owner who inherits his father’s plantation She tries her best to influence Rufus’ development but can she overcome the poisonous institution of slavery that infects everyone it touches?The novel is a potent metaphor for the modern African American experience and the American experience in general We may be lulled into the feeling that we have advanced that we have made progress as a society But at any moment we may be yanked back into the past and reminded of where we came from That heritage of slavery exploitation and racism is an integral part of our national identity and it is never far below the surface It can overcome us in an instant Like Dana we must be constantly on guard well euipped and ready to be yanked out of our supposedly modern and enlightened existence to deal with the ugliest parts of our nature We are kindred with the Americans of 1815 whether we like it or not


  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    “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 travelI suppose some modern readers will want to compare this story to Outlander and there are some similarities a woman trying to survive in the past lots of blood soaked history and horror the harsh realities of being who you are in that time but not only did this book come first but it is far distressing tied in with historical truth and way about surviving than it is about lusty scenes with a kilted hot dudeIt's a really important what if book about race What if a modern black woman suddenly found herself transported 150 years into the past right into the centre of the antebellum South? The book doesn't shy away from portraying the realities of that nothing is sugar coated be prepared for some upsetting scenes But it's also than a gruesome look at historical racism and violence There are many complex and interesting characters both slaves and slave owners Butler has written a book that goes deeper than surface level exploring how people come to accept slavery as the norm and to justify poor treatment of slaves Dana is horrified how easy it is And so was IKindred is so good because not only is it well written and emotionally effective but it also manages to be several different important things complex historical fiction intriguing science fiction and a memoir of slavery For a novel so obviously fictional it feels very real and true Maybe because sadly most of it is I know this is one book that will stay with me for a long timeBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store


  3. Lyn Lyn says:

    Octavia Butler is an amazing writer If you enjoy reading SFF or even an interest in speculative fiction you would like her workKindred first published in 1979 would become her most best selling novelThis 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 illustrate to contemporary readers the horrors of slavery and in this context to draw a comparison with life of our time making the transition to the early 1800s all the stark and evil in contrastKindred is also an allegory for our modern times still burdened by the wounds of slavery and a racial consciousness in our society that has scars that won’t heal Butler shows us though that we as a nation and a people are bound as kindred between races and with a shared historyBack in the 90s I was working in Washington DC and I had the opportunity to meet a group of folks from Africa Multi lingual with French predominant among the diplomats I found the people I met worldly intelligent generous and interesting to talk to – and they were singularly not American I think this was the first time I had met a large group of people from another continent and the idea struck me how much closer I was to my black neighbors than I was to these people I had just met Butler adeptly reveals in Kindred in multiple ways the many degrees of our shared humanity But narrowly Butler is pointing out our kinship as Americans dates like 1976 and July 4th must be intentional how the shared history of slavery – between black Americans and white Americans – has bound us togetherButler also once again has created a strong female protagonist in Dana whose endurance and courage are remarkable made evident by the fact that she has a uniue viewpoint Dana in some respects becomes a symbol of a present day African American woman both made stronger from her heritage but also still bearing the wounds of past wrongsKindred also displays Butler’s amazing talents in storytelling using dramatic irony expertly A reader may notice a subtle though strangely twisted reference to a scene in Lee’s To Kill a MockingbirdIntrospective and somber with many uestions that remain unanswered Kindred is a powerful work told by an artist of genius ability


  4. Adina Adina says:

    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 uestions 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 color in a time when it was an extraordinary accomplishment I get and admire that I also get that she had an agenda to prove how easily one can accept slavery even in our modern world However the above is not a relevant excuse for bad writing cartoonish characters poorly conceived plot and ridiculous dialogue Also the use of time travel had nothing to do with SF there was no explanation of the phenomenon and it felt only as a lazy gimmick to prove her point Yes others used it as well but better in my opinion Let’s start with the plot We are in 1976 America a young black woman is married with a white man and she suddenly starts to repeatedly go back in time in the antebellum South so she can save a child and later young man who proves to be her ancestor It uickly becomes obvious that she has to save him every time he is in trouble otherwise she would not exist in the present time So far so good the premise sounds interesting Too bad the execution was poor Firstly the two pair accepted way to easy the time travelling part The same happened with the people in the past You tell me that a person in the 19th century would not freak out and try to murder any source of such an abomination? The dialogues between the husband and wife after the first two times she comes back are laughable At first he doesn’t believe her although she disappeared and then he doesn’t understand why she is scared Really? I would lose control of myself it that happened screaming my ass into a mental hospital Later when they both land in the past I could not believe how easily they get used to the roles they had to play there her as a slave and him as the white master I totally understand that she had to lay low in order to survive but that doesn’t mean she had to be acceptant in her mind or find excuses for that little piece of shit Rufus And to convinced Alice that is ok to be raped so you can survive NopeI disliked all the characters especially Dana and her detachment; the author did not make me feel anything except annoyance I know I am in minority here but it can’t be helped I can’t find many positive thoughts about this novel


  5. carol. carol. says:

    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 and a buddy read of her book Kindred Full reviews at my blog ? Because 1 gr can't have my reviews 2 because I don't feel like being censored according to some twit's whims


  6. M— M— says:

    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 uestions about how she worked to write Kindred and how she felt about the characters and how the result all turned out The professor kind of threw Butler for a loop once when she pulled an interpretation of the book out of left field and Butler blinked and slowly said she didn't write with that interpretation at all in mind but that she was of the opinion that any interpretation the reader reaches is a valid one I thought she handled the uestion particularly well In the lecture Butler talked mostly about how she writes her writing style her relationship with her fans and the book she was currently writing Fledgling The signing afterwards was very informal but I didn’t try to stay and chat Butler had lots of professors and awestruck students who were all trying to catch her attention I got my book signed said a polite thank you and left happy Fledgling turned out to be the last book Butler wrote She died unexpectedly in early 2006 I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to meet her The book Was good A time traveling story dealing with love gender race racism and responsibility It was beautifully and rather painfully done I never would have found it if it hadn’t been for the author visit and I’m rather sad about that


  7. Cecily Cecily says:

    “ 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 educational book But something didn’t uite connect for me I hoped that composing my thoughts would make me see it in a favourable light and it has Perhaps I just read it too fast to digest it properlyKindred One word seven letters but several interpretations all with emotional impact The most common and literal meaning relates to ties of blood our immediate family The kindred we can’t choose even if we hate or despise them But blood is too narrow to include one’s partner or any adopted children honorary uncles and aunts or step parents And what about children born to slave women who could never claim their fatherowner’s family as kindred even if they wanted to? So it widens to “kindred spirits” our closest friends and allies with whom we share attitudes experiences and interests Regardless of biological parentage a slave child’s kindred can only be fellow slaves Ultimately Butler’s message is that black and white and brown and pink and yellow male and female and everything else we are all kindred One race the human race Race as a social construct See Live Science and Bill NyeThis is not a Christian book and I am not a Christian person but I was reminded of the message of Jesus’ parable of The Good Samaritan The man who asked “Who is my neighbour?” was shown that the answer was everyone in need That’s a tough message to apply but given the turmoil in the word right now it is as important as it ever was Plot No SpoilersThe book is easy to summarise in a way that gives no spoilers than the first three pages and back cover Dana is a 26 year old middle class African American living in 1976 LA with her white husband Kevin Somehow she comes unstuck in time like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse Five and Henry in The Time Traveller’s Wife and suddenly finds herself on a plantation in Maryland in 1815 This happens several times over twenty years of 19th century time with the usual issues and dilemmas of time travel but that is just the mechanism for depicting the horrors of slavery and the complex power and sexual relationships that result as well as exploring the source of hatred nature versus nurture acuiescence revenge and the types and possibility of redemption and freedom Kindred is historical and political adventure than sci fi It’s fast paced and despite the subject uite an easy read And the ending is satisfying but not ludicrously sentimental or tidyOwning and Being OwnedIn 1976 Dana is proud of her independence having repeatedly fought to do what she wanted rather than settle for what was expected In the 19th century she has to consider the terrifying risks and conseuences of striving for even a tiny bit of independence The power play between master and slave can acuire aspects of Stockholm SyndromeAlthough the story is told by Dana and she is the central character at least as important is Rufus Weyland son of the plantation owner The way his attitude and behaviour change as he grows up is echoed in the recent The Help though it is complex here As a small child he’s allowed to have slave children as friends even as his father buys and sells their families beats and sleeps with them Gradually Rufus develops an unreuited “destructive single minded love” for two women that I never fully understood With one woman it’s sexual so he repeatedly rapes her “ There was no shame in raping a black woman but there could be shame in loving one”Of course Rufus doesn’t think of it as rape because she doesn’t try to stop him and importantly he owns her So the woman endures but “She forgave him nothing forgot nothing”Dana sees how manipulative Rufus is she experiences it herself She sees the bad in him and occasionally slivers of good She tries to enlighten him but is remarkably forgiving when he follows in his father’s footsteps More so than I could be which is perhaps another reason why it didn’t uite ring true for me He’s of his Time Does that make it OK?“ He wasn’t a monster at all Just an ordinary man who sometimes did the monstrous things his society said were legal and proper”A common debate on GR and in the wider world yes there is one I’m led to believe is to what extent we judge those in the past by the standards of our time Should we cast aside books by people who we now know had hateful views and who maybe did hateful deeds? Should books about the past be sanitised and redacted to make them acceptable to modern sensibilities?Dana is confronted by this dilemma in a direct and personal way She wants to teach Rufus to think of and treat his slaves kindly but as his views become darker and complicated her opinion of him is ever conflicted exacerbated by the power he has over her How much of what happens can be blamed on the surrounding cultural norms? Does a slave owner who beats relatively rarely and gently deserve leniency?Identity Colour Gender Social Rank AncestryWho is Dana and how free is she? In both periods she can be seen as and is sometimes called “a white nigger” In 1815 she is assumed to be a slave just because of her colour all the inferior because she's female But the fact she talks white and educated causes confusion resentment and conflict And she comes to realise that even in 1976 she is not entirely free of her heritage despite her relative detachment from it though she has read at least some of her ten books about black history even before she has a specific need to do soThere are similar uestions for many other characters especially slaves who consider running away in the hope of freedom or death those who stay because they want to keep their children and those who trade privilege and suffering such as sleeping with a boss they hate to have slightly gentler conditionsI could write a whole review about her husband Kevin how he and their marriage is changed by her experiences and his But I won't this time; it's interesting and important but secondary The other huge aspect is ancestry and how that defines one's identity both in terms of racial identity but also in terms of character What if you are appalled by who and what your forebears do are and do? An issue those who research their family trees often have to faceWords and LanguageThis is a book you read for the ideas and story rather than the language But Butler makes her words work in a book that’s barely 300 pages a single word title and short elemental chapter titles The River The Fire The Fall The Fight The Storm The Rope Of course “the N word” is used freuently Given the setting it would be bizarre if it were notHuman PantoneThe image at the top is from this short blog post about race it is actually part of Angélica Daas’ “Human Pantone” art project which I saw on posters in Bilbao earlier this year


  8. Apatt Apatt says:

    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 book I have read and I already worship herKindred is about Dana an African American woman who finds herself time travelling involuntarily to Maryland in the early nineteenth century It is not explained how or why this happen to her the mechanic of it is entirely irrelevant to the story The novel is about her experience of slavery in the past Her fate becomes intertwined with Rufus a white ancestor who is the only son of a plantation owner and who somehow triggers her time traveling trips every time he is in mortal danger a situation that arises freuently to him than to most people While there she experiences the woes of slavery first hand including whipping beating degradation and humiliationThis is a harrowing and emotional read I almost cry manly tears during some of the chapters I never pondered what it may have been like to be a slave it is not exactly a contingency which is at all likely to ever arise However Ms Butler genius that she was made me feel it through the eyes of her protagonist The pains and humiliation of slavery resonates with me even though there ought to be nothing to resonate I kind of winced every time a stroke of a whip is described This is not a comfortable read but highly engrossing and thought provoking The book is very much character centric the relationship between Dana and Rufus is very complex and fascinating Dana's husband Kevin who also become embroiled in time traveling and is marooned in the nineteenth century for years without his wife adds to her complications his reaction to returning to the present time 1976 is entirely believable and again resonates stronglyThe book reminds me a little of Connie Willis's excellent Doomsday Book which is about time travelling to the fourteenth century and also a harrowing yet wonderful read though the emphasis of that book is on poverty hardship and diseases rather than slavery The involuntary time traveling aspect of the book reminds me of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife though Kindred predates it and Kindred is certainly not a romantic book Octavia Butler was not one of those literary writers who try to avoid the science fiction label like the plague even while using sf tropes in their works she has always loved sf and gladly embraced the genre see photo below That said Kindred is also not science fiction The author described it as a grim fantasy and deliberately did not put any science in it it is described by some literary critics as a neo slave narrative I did consider why the book was written as a fantasy or almost sf instead of historical fiction then I realised that it was probably done so the modern reader can experience the nineteenth century Maryland through the protagonist's contemporary eyes this makes the book very visceralWhile the book was written to make the reader ponder some serious issues such as man's inhumanity to man ineuality and courage in an environment where you are made to feel worthless at no point did I feel like being lectured to The author knows the importance of communicating through the story and I was completely swept away by it Whatever I read next will likely suffer from being compared to this book This goes in my all time greats list Notes• From Torcom Octavia Butler Will Change the Way You Look at Genre Fiction• HERE is another reason to love Octavia Butler• Interesting background info from The PortalistKindred was inspired by the time a very young Butler spent with her mother at work Butler told In Motion Magazine in 2004 that a lot of the motivation behind her novel Kindred came when I was in preschool when my mother used to take me to work with her Kindred follows Dana a writer who travels back in time to the antebellum South and meets her ancestors a white plantation owner and a Black slave The novel argues for the courageousness of people existing under unimaginable circumstances as Dana makes compromises in order to survive slavery Butler's own mother was a housemaid and many of Butler's earliest memories were of the degradations her mother endured at work She told In Motion that witnessing the racism her mother put up with in order to bring Butler a better life helped inspire much of Kindred's message I got to see her not hearing insults and going in back doors and even though I was a little kid I realized it was humiliating I knew something was wrong it was unpleasant it was bad I remember saying to her a little later at seven or eight I'll never do what you do what you do is terrible And she just got this sad look on her face and didn't say anything I think it was the look and the memory of the indignities she endured I just remembered that and wanted to convey that people who underwent all this were not cowards were not people who were just too pathetic to protect themselves but were heroes because they were using what they had to help their kids get a little further Excellent Kindred Infographic with spoilers click on image to see full size


  9. Justin Tate Justin Tate says:

    A uniue 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 upI’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 societyThis is my first Octavia E Butler novel but I’m already a huge fan Which of her books should I read next??


  10. Miranda Reads Miranda Reads says:

    45 stars New month New Booktube Reading Vlog tier listing all the books read in July The Written Review “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 shedisappearedLike literally disappeared One minute she was there and the next minute she was rescuing a drowning white boyAnd 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 isAnd then she zips back to the future to her white husbandShocked shaken and disturbed Dana slowly realizes that the child she rescued Rufus is her many times great ancestor And as she begins to disappear again she realizes that in order for her to stay alive she's going to have to survive these time jumps long enough to keep her ancestor alive She means the devil with people who say you're anything but what you are WhewThis is one for the agesThis book was truly incredible And awful And gut wrenching And heart breaking It was the first science fiction work written by a black woman and she truly knocked it out of the park I am truly struggling with my descriptions all I really have to say is check it out You can read all the history books in the world but nothing hits uite like a story set on a slave plantation in the 1800s


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