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The Yearling
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings


Kindred - I found this a thought-provoking and absorbing read. Every time I read something about slavery, I am always struck by how it really wasn't that long ago...Butler uses time travel as a mechanism to provide a modern (late 1970s) black woman's perspective on slavery. Having a modern protagonist is very effective; because I could relate to Dana more easily it made the story feel much more immediate than a lot of historical fiction. Each of Dana's involuntary trips back in time develops her relationship with the other slaves, and with the owners of the plantation she finds herself in. I thought these were explored very well. The effect of her time as a slave on Dana's relationship with her 70s husband is also very interesting and subtly done, particularly as an example of how hard it is to have a 'normal' relationship in an abnormal and unequal situation. The book acts as a challenge to the way people look back at the past and say 'why didn't they just...?" It's a really good example of situational ethics; Dana frequently finds herself compromising what she would like to do or thinks is the right thing to do, for a range of reasons (self-preservation, concern for the effect on others.I found the ending slightly abrupt and unsatisfying (mainly the fact that we don't find out the fate of her fellow slaves) but overall I thought Kindred was excellent.