Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of Kindred by Octavia E. Butler.
How did you like the reading experience this week? Wasn't the beginning of this story so crazy? This is definitely a different type of story than what I normally read, but I am really enjoying it. I like the time travel aspect since I don't usually read books with that element.
The prologue really sucked me in, especially since it started by telling us that Dana loses her arm. I'm so curious to see how that plays out as the book progresses. That's a pretty crazy place to start, so I can't imagine what else the book has in store for us!
The first time Dana time travels, she ends up at the river and saves Rufus from drowning. This time traveling experience is pretty short, but still, it's terrifying. I can't even imagine being placed in that sort of scenario. It seems, as we move through the book, that Dana travels through time to help Rufus and save his life, but, it's not clear how she can manipulate things to come back home. I can't imagine the stress of not knowing when the time traveling is going to begin. It was sad to see how the uncertainty affected Dana, even when she was at home. She couldn't drive or leave the house for fear that she was going to travel. It was smart of her to think that she shouldn't drive because it would be pretty scary for her to be sucked into the past and leave a driverless car in the present.
The second time she time travels, she saves Rufus after he burns the draperies. At first, I was as confused as Dana and didn't know if the person she was helping was Rufus or an older brother. It's interesting that he remembered her, and it seems like he can hear her before she fully emerges in his world. Rufus appears to have a really sad life. His dad is not kind, and Rufus acts out a lot. What do you think his life would be like if he didn't have Dana to rescue him? While in Rufus's world this time, Dana realizes that she is distantly related to Rufus, and it appears that she must save him in order to keep her family tree intact. Were you surprised by that revelation? What did you think of the part where Dana was traveling to Alice's cabin? That part was really scary, and the slave traders were really terrifying. I'm glad Dana made it out alive, but I don't have terribly high hopes for what will happen to her in the future.
In the last section, "The Fall," Rufus falls out of a tree and breaks his leg. This time travel is different because Dana ties a bag of supplies to herself and that travels with her, and Kevin travels with her, too. I think I was most surprised how quickly they acclimated to the time period. And, I was a little surprised by how much leeway Dana had in the house. It was interesting that they let her live in Kevin's room. If you were Rufus would you have believed Dana and Kevin when they explained that they were from the future? It was a good thing that they had some coins to corroborate their story. I would have a really hard time believing someone who said that they were a time traveler, but maybe, I would be more likely to believe them if I saw them drop from the sky unexpectedly.
At the end of the section, Dana is beaten by Rufus's dad since she was teaching other enslaved people to read. Before Kevin is able to make it to her, she transports back home, leaving him behind. Do you think they will be able to find each other again? Time will move so much more quickly for him than her--I don't know how they will manage to find each other again. Do you think staying in the past will affect Kevin? Do you think he will still want to be with Dana after being submerged in the antiquated ideas of the time period for so long?
What will happen in the next section? How will Rufus change as the years pass?
Before you go, check out this link and peruse some of Octavia E. Butler's papers. I think it's facinating all of the things she wrote down--it definitely shows that she was really determined to make it as a writer.
Make sure you just read the next section, "The Fight," before you check back next week! I can't wait to hear all of the things you thought about this first section!