A review by 5aru
Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler

dark emotional reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


See how easily slaves are made?

I am embarrassed it took me this long to get to reading Kindred, but I finally have; I finished it yesterday in the middle of a plane trip, and my eyes kept tearing up in the most embarrassing, not-quite-crying manner. I felt like I knew how it would end - like I knew Rufus would always want more than Dana could give, that the empathy of an ante-bellum South man (child, really) could only bend so far - but it surprised me how much I didn't want that to happen. The fact that Butler had me unconsciously cheering for a literal slaver's redemption arc gave me the chills.

I was definitely expecting something else in terms of writing style; it surprised me how straightforward and to the point Butler was, in ways that sometimes reminded me of Hemingway's deceptively simple words and phrasings. But there is no denying how effective it is, how poignantly it conveys the moral complexity of the relationships it builds. Certainly not the last of Butler I'll read.

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