Audio Book Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Release Date: September 12, 2007
Publisher: Recorded Books
Format: Audio
Length: 10 hours 58 minutes
Narrator: Kim Staunton
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.


Octavia Butler's most famous novel, The Kindred is amazing book.  Dana, a young African American woman, married to a white man, who has just started a career as a writer in California, is suddenly and inexplicably yanked back in time to Maryland in 1815, where she must save a white boy named Rufus from drowning. This is just the first in many trips back in time for Dana.

Only moments have passed in the 1970's each time Dana returns but when she returns to the past  months even years may had passed.  Dana watches Rufus grow from a little boy, to a teenager, then to an adult slave owner.

She tries her best to influence Rufus’ development, trying to get him to understand the slave perspective but, understandably he has a difficult time of it.  Dana even brings her husband back with her one time and trying to get him to understand the time is a prime example of white privilege.

Smartly written characters and well researched details of slavery and life during that time period.
This is a brilliantly written novel that is just as timely today as it was when written in 1979.