Kindred

Kindred by Octavia Butler is one of the most unique pieces of African American literature that I have ever read. The nonfiction novel starts with the main character Dana, an African American female, living her normal life in California only for it to change entirely with unexplained time travelling that forces her into Maryland in the 1800s: a time where slavery and racism is alive and well. She occasionally gets to go back to the future but her time in the past is always uncertain. This drastic time difference makes adjusting to Maryland quite difficult for Dana and she’s forced to return back in time every time her ancestor Rufus gets into trouble. Dana being forced to travel back in time to a period where she is constantly subjected to fear and terror due to the color of her skin parallels how despite that we as a society have made efforts to drive racism and discrimination in general away from us, it can hit us right back in the face at any minute. Despite the progress we make, there will always be ignorance in our society. Dana tries to counter that by trying to develop Rufus into a kind slave owner to show that we need to stop trying to get any negative and discriminatory thoughts into people during their youth before it’s too late. The novel is well written and does a good job of blending supernatural activities (time travel) with a realistic plot and set of characters. Overall, if you are interested in African American literature or any piece of literature that makes you rethink society and our intentions as a whole, this is a must read.

by Reshad

Kindred

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