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Parable of the Sower: A Novel Hardcover – February 28, 2017
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"Literate ... thoughtful. And a real gut-wrencher." —Washington Post Book World
"A powerful story of hope and faith in the midst of urban violence and decay ... Excellent science fiction and a parable of modern society." —Denver Post
"A prophetic odyssey." —Essence
"Simple, direct, and deeply felt." —Library Journal
"Artfully conceived and elegantly written." —Cleveland Plain Dealer
"There isn't a page in this vivid and frightening story that fails to grip the reader." —San Jose Mercury News
About the Author
- Publisher : Seven Stories Press (February 28, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1609807197
- ISBN-13 : 978-1609807191
- Lexile measure : 710L
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.92 x 1.07 x 8.52 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #32,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Amid all this two leaders arise: one, a demagogue playing on the nation's fears and religious sensitivities promising to 'make America great again' (the author's words in 1993, mind you) convinces a large swath of the population to turn against those who don't conform even as his 'Crusaders' commit atrocities in his name (but never of course with his *official* sanction).
The other is a young, very precocious black woman with a vision to transcend human misery and build a community to seek humankind's Destiny. Barely escaping with her life when her once solid middle-class neighborhood is overrun by a violent gang, she sets off on a trek through a country that is much like ours if things were just a little more desperate, a little more divided, and a lot less caring. It is a stark portrait made even more ominous by being entirely possible and exposing a lot about us as a society we may not care to confront. These books aren't so much a portrait as a mirror.
If there is a weak spot, it's that Olaimina is too obviously an author avatar, but then again this *is* Butler's philosophy and much of her personal experience laid bare. It is the closest thing to an autobiography of the notoriously private author as we are likely to see nearly 10 years after her death. It provides a warning...and, perhaps, a pathway out.
As a child-bearing aged woman with extremely limited survival skills, this book got me feeling like I should learn some basic self defense, or how to start a fire, or shoot a gun, to teach my children in case we end up in this warped world that feels just a few steps away from the reality we live in currently.
The characters are rich and dimensional. A lot of their history and personality shines in their dialogue and responses to various situations. What a great book, I can't wait to start the second part of this series!
The adults are all hoping that things will get better—some day, somehow, but Lauren knows better—they will all die one day if they stay and do nothing. So she spends her time devising plans about running away up north, where there is still rain, while also working on her peculiar religious teachings, Earthseed.
The novel is divided into two parts: The first one describes Lauren's sheltered existence behind the wall, as things outside keep deteriorating. The second one deals with her journey upstate after the destruction of her community and the murder of her family, amid highway bandits, cannibals and drugged pyromaniacs, a nightmarish ordeal of rampant violence and inhuman savagery, yet also of hope that mankind’s humanity has, after all, not all been extinguished with the death of the old world.
Parable of the Sower ranks amongst the best apocalyptic novels ever written. It is harrowing and hardly for the faint of heart, but there is nothing in it, either in the causes of the catastrophe or in characters’ behaviour that is not totally believable and logical: from the way older people cling to social norms and institutions that have already disintegrated, through the easiness of slipping into anarchy, to the extreme suspicion towards any stranger in a time where ‘society’ is all but an artefact of the past.
And while this is an area where the novel exceeds, by far, any expectations, there is another one where it falters, almost fatally: Olamina's self-invented religion. A system of beliefs where ‘God is Change’ and humanity's destiny is ‘to take root amongst the stars’ is peculiar at best. But the worst thing about Earthseed are the verses that accompany each new chapter, which are inept, atrocious, unnecessary and many times outright annoying. For all of her profound insight into human nature, Octavia Butler does not seem to be able to string a verse!
NYT's review insinuates that this book anticipated Trump's rise with the presidential character in it running on the slogan, "Make America Great Again"--but Reagan had already coined this phrase in the 1980s and Clinton used it in '92, a year before the book was released. The book is much more a reflection of THAT time; it's just that we've continued along the same course and things have only gotten more exaggerated since then.