by Octavia E. Butler


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Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stays grow longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807083109
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 02/28/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 18,501
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006) was the author of many novels, including Dawn, Wild Seed, and Parable of the Sower. She was the recipient of a MacArthur Award and a Nebula Award, and she twice won the Hugo Award.

Table of Contents

The River12
The Fire18
The Fall52
The Fight108
The Storm189
The Rope240
Reader's Guide265
Critical Essay265
Discussion Questions285

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Kindred 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 115 reviews.
J-bookclubber More than 1 year ago
When Dana is transported back to the early 1800s, this late twentieth century woman meets her great-grandfathers(2,3 or 4X great-grandparents.) The problem is that Dana is a 26 year old black woman from California and Rufus is a small white child living on his father's plantation in Maryland. Rufus and his parents treat her as a slave, but Dana has always been free. Her modern mindset is all wrong for the time when Rufus was alive and it puts her in great danger---especially her ability to read and write. Her goal is to help Rufus-and herself-- survive until he fathers her great-great-grandmother. The plot is great and the conflicts are very powerful. This reminds me of Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin(about a white man who disguised himself as a black man), which I read about 35 years ago. These books make the reader so aware of the injustices of slavery and discrimination. If Dana hadn't known her own family history, she would not have had such a strong reason to time travel. If it had happened to me, I would have been asking Rufus' parents for their family histories--to put more branches on my family tree!
evelin1112 More than 1 year ago
June 6, 1976, Dana, a black woman celebrates her birthday with her husband. When she starts feeling sick and is taken back to antebellum South in 1815. A white child, Rufus, a plantation owner son gets himself into trouble. Dana has to travel back to the slavery times to protect Rufus. In this book there is a lot of conflict. Both internal and external. Dana has to be carefull. One wrong move and that can be the day that she experiences slavery in the flesh. She not only has to “be a slave” but she has to be courageous and confident that she will make it back home in 1976. This book has meant many different things to me. Knowing how it was when colored people had to belong to whites. This book gives different perspective of how it was and that not all whites were rude and disrespectful. Kindred is the book that you will want to got to when you are looking for something incredibly great to read. I read this my freshmen year, and got a lot of understanding about how much courage, strength, hope to be a slave. This is just a book you would not want to miss out on reading!
ChrisTR More than 1 year ago
"Kindred" is an amazing novel. It is borderline historical drama and science fiction, but there are no clear indications on where fiction and nonfiction begins and ends. It is a neo-slave narrative, borrowing some of its forms but adding a thicker layer of truth than Douglass or Jacobs were ever able to do in the societies in which they were published. It is heartbreaking, loving, informative, and highly inspirational. It literally transports you from the present into the past. If you want to get a glimpse of slavery and prefer reading relaxed prose over reading the technical language of research books, then this book is definitely for you.
Pamthedreamer More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible! Best time travel; historical fiction EVER! I was surprised the original was first published in 1979. How come I hadn't heard of it? The character, Dana's transitions into the past and then to the present again were so real-so believable. I can't tell you much about the book because you just HAVE TO READ IT! Try to do it on a day that you don't have to get up and go to work or school early the next day. Just a friendly warning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book Kindred draws you to the deep south when slavery is a big issue. Dana is pulled out of her modern day time into the 1800, where she winds up in the deep south. She is pulled out of her time by a bratty white boy, Rufus. When Rufus is in trouble he pulls her to his rescue. Dana is mistaken as a runaway and put into slavery. When her life is threatened she can go home. This book draws your attention to the last page. I didn't want to put it down. It bridges the generaton gap. You will be entertained while educated on how slavery was such a big issue back then. I would reccomened this book to anyone and any age. I loved it.
Emily117 More than 1 year ago
Kindred Book Review Kindred is an amazing book that tells a story about a woman named Dana who goes back in time to meet her great-great grandfather. Dana the antagonist is struggling to stay in the present but is always called back to past. This makes a struggle for her to maintain two lives. Not mentioning how hard life was in the past for people her color. She discovers that she only is called when a young boy is in danger named Rufus. Over time as he grows she doesn't want to be around him and fight to not be dragged into his situations. The time era that she travels to is during slavery and considering that she is an African American women she is not very safe. Octavia allows the reader to view both colored and uncolored viewpoints throughout the story. Not all whites were as they were portrayed. Many were very cruel and had no heart towards slaves. Although Dana is a African American woman she is not necessarily a slave for Rufus and his family because they do not own her. It was hard for an African American to wonder around the streets and not belong to anyone. The book does a great job of describing how slaves felt and were treated during slavery.
Monserrat2019 More than 1 year ago
In Kindred, Octavia Butler manages to combined African American history while adding science fiction. It is a tragic and informative piece of literature. Not only did Dana learn how slavery worked and what slaves had to go through but also got a bigger depth into how the slave owners might have felt. It all began with a black women named Dana, who was celebrating her 26th birthday with her new husband Kevin. Then before Kevin’s eyes, Dana disappears into thin air. When she comes back, she finds she was only gone for a few seconds although it felt like minutes for her. Whenever she goes back into time she learns about how her ancestors grew up as slaves. She stays longer every visit, until it’s not so sure if she will come back to the present. She has to be safe for if she dies in the past, she won’t exist in the future. Based on what I have read so far, I think that one of the most major themes was slavery, discrimination, and race. This novel appealed to many of my emotions as it made me feel angry, sad, happy and scared. It is definitely a book you should read.
Rampa More than 1 year ago
Kindred written by Octavia E. Butler,was a chosen novel to cover the curriculum in an english freshmen class. The date set is 1979 present time period. The character Dana and her husband choose to life a way that was once unexceptionable. Dana a young African American from Los Angeles, California. Who was forced to go back decades, before the Civil War began. Was forced to face laborers torture. Experienced the evil and unfair treatment of wanting to be free, and being considered someone’s property. All due for the color of her skin color. Had to overcome perilous situations in order to save one of her ancestor. In the worst situations in her life. Not knowing when you will go home or if you will ever go home. Being able survive in a society where you are no longer considered a human but a worthless piece of trash. Had to overcome the way each and every African Americans lived in fear of being sold, whipped or killed. Dana’s experience will guide you through history in a incredible detained and emotional perspective. The novel will show you courage and determination. To keep you head up even in the worst situations.
JesusJ More than 1 year ago
Throughout my year of being a freshman in high school my English teacher made us read different kinds of interesting novels. But the main one I liked the most was KINDRED. To everyone that has not read this book it is interesting. If you like slave history then this book is right for you. This book grabbed my attention because is about a young black woman who can time travel to where slavery existed. This woman time travels to 1819 where she sees a white kid drowning, she saves his life but the child's mother is mad because a black woman touched her son. Eventually “Dana” ends up taking care of “Rufus” the white kid. Horrible things happen to Dana while she time travels. She gets treated like a slave even though she has papers. Rufus father is the owner of a plantation, he tells Dana if he sees her giving reading lessons to any African kid she will be punished. The most common punishment was the whipping. Dana has a mate and his name is “kevin”, Kevin doesn't care if she is black he loves and she loves him. If you love novels then this is a great written piece that you will like.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Kindred, written by Octavia E. Butler. I decided to read this book because it was something that caught my attention. I’m not much of a reader but reading the first few pages of the book surprisingly called my attention so I wanted to read more about it. Something I liked about the book was that it keeps you engaged throughout all of it and something I disliked was that at some scenes of the book where it was hard to read it lacked more emotion, at times it felt like the main character didn’t really care about what was going. Overall I would give the book a ⅘ stars because I like the way it flows and it keeps you engaged even on hard parts of the book. I would recommend this book to students who are mature enough to read strong language and have a strong mindset. For me this book was hard to read since it involved very descriptive violence so I would recommend this to those who can handle reading this type of books.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Kindred, written by Octavia E. Butler. I decided to read this book because it was something that caught my attention. I’m not much of a reader but reading the first few pages of the book surprisingly called my attention so I wanted to read more about it. Something I liked about the book was that it keeps you engaged throughout all of it and something I disliked was that at some scenes of the book where it was hard to read it lacked more emotion, at times it felt like the main character didn’t really care about what was going. Overall I would give the book a ⅘ stars because I like the way it flows and it keeps you engaged even on hard parts of the book. I would recommend this book to students who are mature enough to read strong language and have a strong mindset. For me this book was hard to read since it involved very descriptive violence so I would recommend this to those who can handle reading this type of books.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I chose to read Kindred because it looked like a very "real" book that talked about important subjects. When I read, I don't like to read fiction and Kindred was an exception. It was really good read because it teaches about white-black relationships and how they are historically. It also has really important themes of connectedness, like when Dana says she accepts Rufus as everything- but a master or a lover. I didn't like this book because the writing style was very boring, and dragged along, which some people like, but I didn't like it because the topic the book was too complex, and I often got confused about the story just because of the writing. I gave this book 3 stars because, it's really not the greatest book to get an understanding of generational trauma but it gets it done. Any of Octavia is a really necessary read, because it is like the barebones. I would recommend it to someone who wants to educate themselves and understand about things like rape, racism and trauma. Octavia is a cancer sun, so it's really emotional!
Anonymous 9 months ago
Kindred written by Octavia Butler, I chose this book as part of my independent reading assignment in my English class. Reading the first couple pages caught my attention because of the topic of the book. It’s sci fi but also talks about something that happened in history which stood out because you could see a perspective of a woman from the 1970’s responding to the environment of the 1800’s. I did enjoy reading this book because of what it talked about and how the story moved a long. There were some parts where the book moved slowly or parts that lacked emotion. Since the book talked about such strong topics that left you impacted after reading, I feel like those pages with the strong topics should have shown more emotion. I would give this book ⅘ stars, I enjoyed reading it but I do wish more emotion was shown or that those hard to swallow topics were explored more. I would recommend this book to any reader that can handle strong topics and wants to learn more about how slaves were actually treated, the pain they went through, daily tasks and life on a plantation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story involves a staple of science fiction--time travel--and Octavia Butler is famous as a science fiction writer--considered by many one of the greats alongside writers such as Ursula LeGuin, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. This particular novel isn't science fiction though, and you may be disappointed if you go in with that expectation. Dana, a modern black woman is married to a white man, Kevin, and they've just moved into their first home together in 1976 when for the first time she's transported into antebellum Maryland where she saves the life of Rufus Weylin--her slave-holding ancestor. There's no technical or scientific explanation for this displacement. I think that itself is deliberate, both to put the focus on the situation of slavery and to heighten the horror of the situation, to make us feel that above all slavery is about a lack of control, of a life disrupted. Slavery is what is examined in this novel--the implications or paradoxes of time travel is not.I think if you're going to peg what genre this belongs in besides historical fiction, it's horror. The book begins "I lost an arm on my last trip home." That signals a lot about this story. The almost Kafkayesque fantastical and symbolic aspect of the book, and we know from the first line that Dana will survive but not without horrible loss. I think a lot of what I found so gripping in the book is that it invites you to imagine what it would be like as a modern person to be a slave. I've read reviews that fault Dana for being too much of a victim, too passive, and considers her selfish for not killing Rufus just because he's her own ancestor.I think that's to misread the point of the book--that there were few opportunities or options and it's too easy to condemn everyone who didn't turn out to be a Sojourner Truth or Frederick Douglas. Rufus starts out an innocent--only five-years-old. Dana's bounced back and fourth into later period of his life, and we see the slave system corrupt him, despite him starting out with blacks, including Dana, who are important in his life and he cares about, even if that is twisted. Just as Dana herself is damaged in her relatively brief time there. We see two parallel movements, as Rufus is shaped into a slave master and Dana a slave. Dana spends more and more time in slavery as and because she becomes more adept surviving within it. In terms of arresting historical detail and engrossing me completely in the book, this one is a winner--a page turner.It's short of amazing for me though, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was signaling the end right from the prologue. Given the pattern set up early on and what just about every adult American knows of slavery, the plot's shape and the development of the characters was predictable. There are no surprises here, and though Butler's a good writer, she wasn't in Kindred a particularly arresting one, and though I found the story suspenseful, I never found it moving.I've tried one other book by Butler--The Parable of the Sower. That book truly is science fiction. Unfortunately, I found it unbearably preachy, and I found it harder to buy into Parable's future than into Kindred's past. I'm glad I read Kindred, but I wouldn't read it again, and I won't be reading more of Butler after this.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise of this novel is simple, if not adequately explained: a modern-day black woman, Dana, is transported back to antebellum Maryland whenever her white ancestor, Rufus, is in danger of losing his life. Dana must save his life, despite her dislike of him, to ensure her own eventual birth. But then she is stuck as a slave in that time until she feels sufficiently threatened that she jumps back to her own time. The time travel process is never really explained, but that wasn¿t my main problem with the book, which I disliked more than any of Butler¿s other novels. The novel is intended to be a twist on the literary form of th slave narrative and to give some insight into why strong-willed people might give in to slavery, but I was not convinced. I couldn¿t understand how Dana could fall into the rhythms of a slave¿s life so easily or accept what was happening to her so readily, and why didn¿t she, as a representative of a later time, have a greater effect on the people she met in the past? The story never gelled for me because I couldn¿t quite suspend my disbelief, and the ending was particularly unsatisfying.
beserene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Octavia Butler was one of the most extraordinary speculative fiction writers of the twentieth century. Virtually every book she wrote is powerful, poetic, rich in detail and elegant in craftsmanship. None more so, however, than this one. 'Kindred' may, in fact, be her most mainstream book. Its speculative element is an unexplained time travel pattern, one that is simply there, not rationalized or categorized or mechanized. And that allows the reader to focus on what this novel really is -- a neo-slave narrative, an eloquent perspective on African American history, and an incredibly personal reflection on how experiences -- especially traumatic experiences -- shape us as individuals and as a culture. The main character in the novel, Dana, is a modern black woman in 1976 (the novel was published originally in 1979) who is "called" back to the early 1800s by a distant ancestor, a white southern plantation owner, in order to save his life. In the process of doing so, Dana is subject to the horrors of slavery in the antebellum South. Thus, in this first person narrative, the reader is also faced with those horrors. It is not an easy thing to face, but the most remarkable thing about this novel is its unflinching attention, which draws the reader into this world without making her feel obligated, or (remarkably) preached at. The extraordinary experiences offered up to the reader are quietly internalized; the message is taken in without conscious consideration.It is only in the pauses, or after one has finished, that the reflection inspired by the novel begins. Whilst reading, I could not stop to think -- I felt, I absorbed, I wondered... I had to know what would happen to Dana, to her husband, to her world. But when I was done, I really started to think. I considered how different such an experience would be for me. I thought about the historical and linguistic patterns that Butler points out in the novel. I reflected on how far we have come, and how far we haven't. And therein is the pure intellectual beauty that is an Octavia Butler novel -- never once have I finished a work of hers without something to think seriously about. Butler is not the one you choose when you are looking for a little light reading, but she is absolutely the first place to go when one wants to take a new look at an old conflict, when one wants to consider culture in a different way, when one wants to think and be challenged. I don't think there is any better recommendation for her work than that. Read it.
hankesj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was like Time Traveler's Wife and The Help put together... it was SOO good. It takes such a talented writer to be able to write about slavery in the south and have it sound so authentic. Octavia Butler has mastered the line between science fiction/historical fiction. The premise is that Dana who is black in 1976 lives with her white husband. One day she becomes dizzy and travels back in time where she find a young boy drowning. She helps him...and thus begins a incredible cycle. There are so many wonderful things about this novel that make it work. First off- a writer who writes about things that are not possible (time travel) have the daunting task of making a reader believe it. If you write well enough, you can make a reader believe ANYTHING. (example...falling in love with vampires and werewolves). Butler effortlessly weaves the time traveling aspect into the novel without even a second doubt. By the end, I was wondering if I could do it. Secondly- The image of slavery in the south was so well researched that I was amazed with the exactness of it. The dialect, the culture, the "norms" of that time are all explored and done so very well. This was by far one of the best books I've read in a while and I so recommend it. I give it an A!
jenreidreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a rather difficult, stressful book. Dana, a modern black woman married to a white man, travels back in time to the antebellum South. Gone With The Wind this novel is not. Dana is compelled to save her ancestor Rufus' life many times, even though he is a slave-owner and treats her horribly. She experiences all the violence and terror of being a slave first-hand. I think I would have got more out of this book if I could have read it for a class; the discussion questions at the end were helpful, but talking about it with someone would have been better. I was left feeling very concerned for Dana and Kevin's marriage. The trauma they both experienced during their trip back in time had to affect them greatly.
clark.hallman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kindred, by Octavia Butler, was first published in 1976. Edana (a young black woman who prefers to be called Dana) and her white husband, Kevin, are moving into their first home together in California in 1976. She suddenly becomes very dizzy and finds herself transported to a strange place where she encounters and young white boy (Rufus) floundering in a river. Dana rescues the boy and administers CPR to save his life. However, a strange man threatens her with a rifle, and she becomes dizzy again and is transported back to her home where Kevin is stunned by her sudden disappearance and reappearance. Dana does not understand what happened, but a few minutes later she mysteriously appears in Rufus¿ bedroom, only he is a few years older. This time Rufus is standing in front of a burning window curtain. Dana quickly rips the curtains down and throws it out the open window preventing the house from catching fire and likely saving the lives of the boy and his parents. She discovers from Rufus that his father (Tom Weylin), who had previously threatened her with his rifle, is a slave owner, and plantation owner, in rural Maryland. Rufus helps Dana sneak out of the house to avoid be discovered by his father and gives her directions to the house of Alice Greenwood (a good friend of Rufus) and her mother who is a free black woman. Through her conversation with Rufus, Dana discovers that she has traveled to rural Maryland during the Antebellum period (specifically 1815) and she realizes that Rufus and his black friend (Alice) would eventually have a daughter who would be a direct ancestor of Dana. Therefore, Dana realizes that it is important that Rufus and Alice are protected. She finds the house, but unfortunately a group of white men are savagely beating the husband of Alice¿s mother. Dana hides until the men leave and then asks the woman if she can stay the night. Unfortunately the men return and the beat Dana. However, during the beating (which she thought would surely kill her) she becomes dizzy again and is transported back to her home in 1976 in California. Dana makes four more trips to save Rufus when he is near death, and each time Rufus is older and the visits last longer. She has no way to control or avoid these trips, and it seems that she cannot return home unless she is placed in extreme danger. She is accepted by Tom Weylin because she repeatedly saves his son from death and Rufus becomes very dependent upon, and fond of, Dana. However, Dana is treated as a slave by both Tom and Rufus Weylin, especially as Rufus grows older. Although she does enjoy a somewhat better life on the Weylin plantation than the other slaves, she must endure a very harsh life and she is beaten severely more than once and suffers many other indignities. However, she is accepted by most of the other slaves, and she forms very close relationships with some of them. This book is a science fiction book only because it involves time travel. However, the vehicle of Dana¿s time travel is never explained and time travel only functions to bring Dana (and her husband who travels with her by touching her as she experiences her episodes of dizziness) to Antebellum Maryland when Rufus needs her. It is more appropriate to view this book as a highly researched book of historical fiction. It enables the reader to witness the incredibly brutal, and dehumanizing, treatment of slaves during the Antebellum period. Readers without much knowledge of the period could not begin to understand the lives of slaves, and Ms. Butler does an amazing job of placing the reader in that shocking and extremely sad environment. Octavia E. Butler is a very distinguished and acclaimed science fiction writer, but she has also brought this harsh and shameful period of American history to life for her many readers. This is a great book that educates, but also contains plenty of suspenseful action and wonderfully complex characters. I believe everyone should read it.
njmom3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by the author. I could not put it down. In the past, I have not enjoyed books with time travel. However, this was such a gripping story and characters. I will definitely look for more by this author.
smitten1054 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Awesome. Octavia E. Butler's best, and probably an American history/scifi classic.
bnbookgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
LOVED IT!!! A great tale about the antebellum south with a bit of time travel thrown in. Dana, a black women saves the son of a white slave owner. Hard time putting this one down. One of my top 10.
Blakelyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I heard the synopsis of this book, I didn't think I was going to like it. Time travel? Not exactly my thing. However, Octavia Butler blends science fiction with historical fiction to create a surprisingly realistic story, despite the fact that the main character time travels between the early 1800's and 1976. Dana is a black woman, living in the post-Civil Rights movement in 1976, and is married to a white man named Kevin. On her 26th birthday, she is unpacking a box of books in their brand new home when she gets a dizzy spell, and suddenly finds herself transported to the early 1800's, during slavery times. A young white boy, whom she later learns is one of her distant ancestors, is drowning in a river, so she rushes out to save him. Her first "trip" is just the beginning of a long and dangerous adventure, one that will change both her and her husband's lives forever. Her purpose, it seems, is to keep the boy alive, but as he gets older, he becomes more and more like his father - a racist, vile man. Can Dana endure enough to ensure the survival of her blood line?
Magadri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful novel. In this work, we follow Dana, a contemporary woman (from 1976) on her trip back to a slave plantation in the early 1800s. Butler does a great job of exploring the emotional aspects of slavery through the eyes of a modern day reader. Note: if you are the kind of reader who wants everything explained perfectly, Kindred is probably not the right book for you--Butler never explains exactly how Dana goes back in time. However, it is important to realize that how she goes back in time is not important; what's important is her journey, what she learns, and what she comes back with. Great book!