Thursday 10 August 2023

KINDRED by Octavia E. Butler


KindredKindred by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my TBR pile for a while. It was one I found during our pre-Covid thrifting. So, I decided to see if I liked the sounds of it... and once I started, I couldn't stop reading.

On her twenty-sixth birthday, Dana is transported from her comfortable life in 1976 to another time. A time in history when white people used slaves and didn't much value anything or anyone. While she struggles to find the reason why this is happening, she's forced to endure awful hardships that alter her life forever...

Wow. Saying that I really enjoyed this book sounds both blasphemous and accurate. It's such a powerful work of fiction, an essential book that delves deep into the harsh and unjust lives of slaves in the nineteenth century. What Dana is forced to endure, as well as what she witnesses and hears about what others are put through, is despicable. And so very sad.

I was uncomfortable during most of this book. My heart broke with every new chapter. I found Dana's voice compelling and strong. A modern woman who is thrust into a past that is full of danger for someone like her. And in spite of all the cruelty and pain, she remains determined to see this mysterious circumstance to the very end.

While I REALLY liked Dana and Kevin, as well as Nigel, Alice, Sarah, Carrie, and all the other unforgettable slaves, I DESPISED Rufus and John. Actually, all the white people (except for Kevin) in this book were atrocious. Absolutely vulgar and heartless. A product of their time and willing to be awful just to satisfy their own status. Utterly disgusting.

Anyway, I have a lot to say about that, but I won't. Instead, I'll praise this extraordinary piece of literature.

One more thing: asides from the obvious themes, it's also very much a sad tale of an obsession that threatens to destroy everything Dana cares about.

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