By: Octavia E. Butler
From the New York Times bestselling author of Parable of the Sower and MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Nebula, and Hugo award winner
The visionary time-travel classic whose Black female hero is pulled through time to face the horrors of American slavery and explores 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).