Saturday, November 16, 2019


by Octavia E. Butler

How come I have never heard of this book before? I've been a fan of time travel stories since I started reading science fiction, yet somehow I only heard about this 1979 novel almost 40 years after it was published. (And how the heck has it been 40 years since I was a teen? But I digress...)

Kindred is the tale of a Dana, a 26 year old African-American woman who suddenly vanishes from her home in California in 1976 and finds herself in Maryland in 1811. She never discovers why or how she has traveled back in time and space, but she does figure out that she's linked to a person back then. She's forced to navigate life on his plantation, a place where the color of her skin puts her danger. Her status as a strange "guardian angel" shields her in the beginning, but the cultural forces of oppression and exploitation are powerful. How long before they overwhelm her?

I really enjoyed the story. Ms. Butler crafted a believable tale--once you pretend that time travel is a possibility--filled with complex characters. While there's one or two moments when Dana's knowledge of the future comes in handy, for the most part she's lost in a strange place. She rises to the occasion, and learns to function in that society. Now that I know about this book, I have to add it to the other time travel novels on my shelf.

LibraryThing link


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