Book Club Questions: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

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 across the years to save him. After this first summons, Dana is drawn back, again and again, to the plantation to protect Rufus and ensure that he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana’s ancestor. 

Yet each time Dana’s sojourns become longer and more dangerous, until it is uncertain whether or not her life will end, long before it has even begun.

We’d been meaning to try Octavia Butler’s writing for a long time, and finally made it in reading this book. While the book itself is far from an uplifting read, we were both glad to have read something from this wonderful author at last. Kindred is an excellent book that raises lots of interesting (and tough) questions about the delineation of power, our responsibility toward our kin, and the ways in which our modern worldview has altered our perspective on the historical realities of slavery.

Discussion questions below the cut!

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