Paperback, 287 pages

English language

Published March 12, 2008 by Beacon Press.

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4 stars (10 reviews)

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given...

11 editions

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

A deserved classic

5 stars

For much of the time I spent reading Kindred, I completely forgot that this novel was written in the 1970s - some 45 years ago now. Octavia Butler's ideas and prose style still feel fresh and I was glad that this important novel hasn't suffered from being 'of its time'. Other 1970s novels I've read have seemed dated but, in fact, Kindred came across as just as relevant now as it must have been to its first readers. On a personal level that was a good thing because it meant I could fully appreciate the story and everything it wanted to impart to me. I was also very aware though that this also illustrates how little progress has been achieved in terms of racial and gender equality over the past four decades. Slavery such as Dana experiences on the plantation may no longer be legal, but the attitudes it fostered …

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Still powerful almost half a century on

4 stars

Content warning Minor plot information

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (The Women's Press science fiction)

Such an original and captivating storyline

5 stars

What a book. I was drawn in by the horrifying scenario that Dana found herself trapped in, but the examination of how slavery was so normalized, and how evil the institution of chattel slavery was.

I happened to have been in the middle of this book when a conspiracy theorist, racist member of my extended family brought up how whites are unfairly blamed for slavery. It made me realize that while the practice of owning people as slaves is gone, the same anti-black philosophy is still thriving among white men.

The idea that my family member or his ilk would tacitly endorse the return of slavery is slim, but, in finding themselves in Kevin's shoes might think similarly that "Hey, this isn't as bad as I thought it would be..."

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)

Review of 'Kindred' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I keep trying to read books by Octavia Butler, and yet somehow never manage to find one that really captivates me. This in parts dark and brutal story of a WoC from 1976 traveling back in time to live on the antebellum estate of her ancestor just didn't grab me.

Dana somehow has a connection to a boy called Rufus who turns out to be her ancestor. Whenever his life is in danger, she is transported to his time, to witness how brutally slaves were treated at the time. As she is black, she is also considered a slave. She keeps traveling back repeatedly, and things get worse each trip. Only when her own life is in danger as well, does she get back to her own time.

I can acknowledge that it's a masterpiece for its time, published in 1979, and I am glad to have read it, but …

reviewed Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Black women writers series)


5 stars

I liked this A Lot. Got through it in a couple of days because I really empathized with the characters and was keen to see what happened to them. I think the book is based on a very interesting idea. The horror of slavery is described very clearly and I have the impression that I somewhat understood it.


  • African American women -- Fiction
  • Slaveholders -- Fiction
  • Time travel -- Fiction
  • Slavery -- Fiction
  • Slaves -- Fiction
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Fiction
  • Southern States -- Fiction