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Kindred Paperback – January 1, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 7,744 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

Octavia Butler is a writer who will be with us for a long, long time, and Kindred is that rare magical artifact . . . the novel one returns to, again and again.—Harlan Ellison

"One cannot finish Kindred without feeling changed. It is a shattering work of art with much to say about love, hate, slavery, and racial dilemmas, then and now." —Sam Frank, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

"In Kindred, Octavia Butler creates a road for the impossible and a balm for the unbearable. It is everything the literature of science fiction can be." —Walter Mosley

"Truly terrifying . . . A book you'll find hard to put down."—Essence

"Butler's books are exceptional . . . She is a realist, writing the most detailed social criticism and creating some of the most fascinating female characters in the genre . . . real women caught in impossible situations."—Dorothy Allison, Village Voice

"Butler's literary craftsmanship is superb."—Washington Post Book World

"One of the most original, thought-provoking works examining race and identity."—Lynell George, Los Angeles Times

This powerful novel about a modern black woman transported back in time to a slave plantation in the antebellum South is the perfect introduction to Butler's work and perspectives for those not usually enamored of science fiction. . .A harrowing, haunting story." —John Marshall, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"No other work of fantasy or science fiction writings brings the intimate environment of the antebellum South to life better than Octavia E. Butler's Kindred." —Kevin Weston, San Francisco Chronicle

"A celebrated mainstay of college courses in women's studies and black literature and culture; some colleges require it as mandatory freshman reading." —Linell Smith, The Baltimore Sun

"Kindred is as much a novel of psychological horror as it is a novel of science fiction. . .a work of art whose individual accomplishment defies categorization." —Barbara Strickland, The Austin Chronicle

"A startling and engrossing commentary on the complex actuality and continuing heritage of American slavery." —Sherley Anne Williams, Ms.

"Her books are disturbing, unsettling… In a field dominated by white male authors, Butler's African-American feminist perspective is unique, and uniquely suited to reshape the boundaries of the sci-fi genre." —Bill Glass, L. A. Style

About the Author

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

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Beacon Press (January 1, 2003)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0807083690
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0807083697
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 14 - 18 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 580L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 12 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.35 x 0.86 x 7.92 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 7,744 ratings

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OCTAVIA E. BUTLER (1947–2006) was the renowned author of numerous ground-breaking novels, including Kindred, Wild Seed, and Parable of the Sower. Recipient of the Locus, Hugo and Nebula awards, and a PEN Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work, in 1995 she became the first science- fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship ‘Genius Grant’. A pioneer of her genre, Octavia’s dystopian novels explore myriad themes of Black injustice, women’s rights, global warming and political disparity, and her work is taught in over two hundred colleges and universities nationwide.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
7,744 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2018
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Navanski
4.0 out of 5 stars I must be missing something
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 28, 2020
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11 people found this helpful
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Scarlet Aingeal
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm keen to read more by Octavia Butler, but I'm left with questions...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 8, 2017
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29 people found this helpful
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Anne bonny book reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought 5*
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought 5*
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2018
Kindred is such an exceptionally difficult novel to describe. Especially when it comes to the area of genre. It has themes of historical slavery, time travel and at it’s heart a beautiful romance between Dana and her husband Kevin.
Although it is tricky to describe and review, I urge you to buy a copy! You won’t be disappointed.

It is June 9th 1976, Dana’s 26th birthday when she first meets Rufus. She saves his life from drowning in the river and is met with the threat of death via the barrel of a gun!
Dana then reappears in the modern day (1976). Was this a dream? An hallucination? Dana desperately tries to piece it all together. Rufus’s southern accent, the scenery etc.

Dana continues to be drawn and pulled back into the past every time Rufus encounters trouble. When Dana plays close attention to Rufus’s language and the dialogue of his conversations, she then realises, she is in a dark era of time. Dana is being transported back to 1815. Also not just any location but the Weylin Plantation where 38 slaves are held. This is an extremely dangerous era for Dana to be pulled into.

‘The possibility of meeting a white adult here frightened me, more than the possibility of street violence ever had at home’ – Dana

‘Paperless blacks were fair game for any white’

In the modern day (1976) Dana is married to Kevin Franklin. The story of who they met and fell in love is incorporated into the story. He is the only person to have physically witnessed Dana’s journeys into the past and has deep concern. It may be worth noting Dana is African American and Frank is white. Something Rufus refuses to believe, when she attempts to explain the future to him.

‘Rufus fear of death calls me to him, and my own fear of death sends me home’ – Dana

There are violent scenes and scenes where you see the KKK in all their evil glory. They are painful to read but describe the violence and dehumanisation that was inflicted upon slaves and free black people in 1815.

‘Strength. Endurance. To survive, my ancestors had to put up with more than I ever could. Much more’ – Dana

In the lucid moments in the present day (1976) Dana and her husband frantically search for a link between her past and Rufus’s. Their research leads them to believe there is in fact a biological connection of some sort between Dana and Rufus but how?

‘I was the worse possible guardian for him – a black to watch over him in a society that considered blacks subhuman. A woman to watch over him in a society that considered women perennial children’

This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought. The hierarchy of slavery and violence is fully explored.
I shall leave some of the thought-provoking quotes I noted below. 5*

‘I never realised how easily people could be trained to accept slavery’ – Dana

‘There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one’

‘It was so easy to advise other people to live with their pain’ – Dana

‘I had no enforceable rights. None at all’ – Dana
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9 people found this helpful
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dustspeck
4.0 out of 5 stars Has probably lost some of its impact
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 7, 2020
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5 people found this helpful
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Ruju
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent slavery era historical tale
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2021
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