Kindred taught me that you sometimes never know you when are being transformed from within (for good or for ill) when faced with highly-charged situation on a daily basis.
MY "DEAL" WITH OCTAVIA E. BUTLER
Octavia Butler is a name I've heard often. However, I have never made much effort seek any of her works out. The reason is because whenever that name pops up, it is always about how great she was and how much influence she has over the present generation of black female writers... but rarely do I read or hear any discussion about the details or particulars of her work. And for a person who lives for the real meat in terms of stories, I felt no compulsion to look for any of her materials since I have no clue as to what I'll find in them.
I recently came across Kindred, one of the Octavia Butler's work (remade in a graphic novel format), and I am glad I did for it surpassed my expectations. Here is the gist of the book:
WHAT KINDRED IS ALL ABOUT
Dana was a black woman (and a writer) who is married to a white man around 1970s. However, at unknown times, she gets pulled back in time into a period in USA history where slavery of black people was the norm. Kindred follows her adventure as she alternates between the present and the past, trying to survive in an era where she is viewed a little more than a livestock. The book examines the compromises she has to make, the suffering she goes through and the relationships she forges on the way. More importantly, the book reveals how Dana's relationship with the past is interwoven with her present and the effort she makes to cope.
Kindred is a book that explores human feelings and the unconscious shifting of perspectives we all face when confronted with overpowering situations. This book shines in its accuracy of perception of racial biases and its influence on human spirit.
The only downside to Kindred is that the flow of the story was sometimes disrupted by occasional leap in scenes, where the main characters may be talking to one person and then change location in the next panel to speak to another character. This happened often enough to leave me confused at times.
Kindred's art is unique and uninhibited. They seem like simple sketch drawings at a first glance, but therein lies the style's charm and genius. The facial expressions were on point while the environment and colour reflected the mood and setting of the story.
Kindred is a story that shines a bright light on some aspects of human nature and how our experiences shape us. A fine book.