Thursday, June 28, 2012
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Kindred by Octavia Butler is a cult classic. I've been meaning to read this for a while. It's classified as science fiction but it also has elements of historical fiction. It's 1976 and Dana, a black woman married to a white man finds herself suddenly pulled back in time to the early 1800s in Maryland. She has to save a white boy, Rufus, from drowning. Rufus turns out to be her slave-owning white ancestor and he is able to summon her subconsciously whenever his life is in danger. Dana, meanwhile, is able to return to 1976 only when her own life is in peril. She returns a few times, once even managing to drag her husband with her. While stuck in the past, Dana lives life as a slave but with the perspective of a modern American woman.
Dana experiences culture shock on several levels but surprisingly she finds herself adapting to her environment more and more. I thought this was an interesting read because it explores how slavery was accepted at the time as the norm and how easy it was for both slaves and masters to accept the roles they were born into. Kindred is another book that would spark a lot of discussion at a book club. I'm surprised that though it was published in 1979, it was never made into a movie.