Butler, Octavia, E. Kindred. Read by Kim Staunton. Audio Books, 2007.
Reason read: The audio book for Kindred was released on September 12th, 2007. Read in honor of that event. I also needed a book with a one word title for the Portland Public Library Reading Challenge.
This was a hard read. I know what Butler was trying to do and it worked almost too well. Even just reading the fact that nigger was not a derogatory term in southern Maryland in 1815 was painful. I didn’t know how I would get through the much, much, much harsher treatment of slaves, but I did. Dana, a modern woman from the 1970s, finds herself time-traveling back to pre-Civil War Maryland. At first it seems as if Dana is going back in time to protect the future of her very existence. It’s much deeper than that. There were many themes introduced in Kindred. Probably the most profound theme surrounded literacy. The ability to read was controversial in the mid 1800s. Seen as a threat to whites, cherished as a secret communication for slaves, the ability to read symbolized power and a different form of freedom. Confessional: after Dana’s first jump I was disturbed by her early acceptance of time travel. She wasn’t as freaked out about time jumping between present day Los Angeles and slave era Maryland as I thought realistic. Add in the fact she accidentally took her white husband with her and a whole other dynamic gets introduced. Another confessional: I read this so fast I can barely remember the details except to say the violence stayed with me for a very long time, even if the entire plot didn’t.
Author fact: Butler passed away in 2006.
Book trivia: I could picture this being a movie.
Nancy said: Pearl only includes Kindred in a list of books about time travel one might enjoy.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Time Travel” (p 221).