Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kindred Spirit

Pesach just ended, leaving me with a cold and the satisfaction of having read a wonderful book.  Kindred, written by Octavia Butler, is set in the modern era (1976) and the antebellum South, a time-travel saga that was hard to put down.

Written in 1979, somehow I missed this novel, which pits Dana, a 20th century black woman, against unknown forces that transport her to 19th century Maryland, to a plantation just in time to save the white master's son.  Over and over again.

Through Dana, and Butler's cast of characters, we get a taste, frightening no less, of slavery in America.  As a Jew whose family was safe on America's shores by 1924, I missed dual Holocausts - one against black slaves in this country, and the other, more well known, to Jews in Europe.  As Dana mentioned between trips through time, it appears the Germans learned a lot from 19th century slave owners.

Perfect reading for a holiday dealing with slavery and redemption.  While I played no part in America's horrific past, I cannot help but feel guilty that it happened at all.  And more than a bit ashamed.

I did not seek out this book.  I found it on the "New Book" shelf, and liked the time travel aspect.  In the end, I found the eye opener about slavery, and all its evils, the most redeeming quality of all.

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