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The visionary author’s masterpiece pulls us—along with her Black female hero—through time to face the horrors of slavery and explore the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.

“I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.”

Dana’s torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner’s plantation. She soon realizes the purpose of her summons to the past: protect Rufus to ensure his assault of her Black ancestor so that she may one day be born. As she endures the traumas of slavery and the soul-crushing normalization of savagery, Dana fights to keep her autonomy and return to the present.

Blazing the trail for neo-slavery narratives like Colson Whitehead’s 
The Underground Railroad and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer, Butler takes one of speculative fiction’s oldest tropes and infuses it with lasting depth and power. Dana not only experiences the cruelties of slavery on her skin but also grimly learns to accept it as a condition of her own existence in the present. “Where stories about American slavery are often gratuitous, reducing its horror to explicit violence and brutality, Kindred is controlled and precise” (New York Times).

 

Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) is the New York Times best-selling author of many novels, including DawnWild Seed, and Parable of the Sower. She was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, a PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award, 2 Nebula Awards, and 3 Hugo Awards, among others.

 

  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  • Series: Bluestreak
  • Paperback: 264 pages | Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807083690
  • ISBN-13: 9780807083697
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 oz (Paperback) | 13.6 oz (Hardcover)
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