Reading time: Less than 2 minutes.
–> Lire la version française de cet article
April was busy with a lot of projects to move forward simultaneously, so I didn’t find the time to do the research I wanted for the blog and I realized that the end of the month was already there without me having published anything! Forget it, I haven’t done enough research, but I’ve had some exciting fictional readings and I want to share one of them here. Today I am talking about literature with the novel Kindred by Octavia Butler.
Octavia Butler (1947-2006) was an African-American science fiction writer. One of his best-sellers is his novel Kindred, published in 1979, and translated into French under the title Liens de sang. Octavia Butler recounts the time travel of Dana, a young black American woman living in California in 1976, married to Kevin, a white man. Her jumps in the past brought her back to her slave ancestors and masters in a plantation in Maryland in the early 19th century. The book thus makes it possible to cleverly question the slavery past and the domination relationships that have been exercised there. The question of physical violence is very present, but all the subjects of daily life are also addressed: food, illness, education, work….
How did slaves and masters think about their relationships with the different people they met? What survival and resistance strategies were put in place by the slaves? These are some of the aspects that arise from reading the book. The black and white couple of Kevin and Dana also makes it possible to question gender and colour relations, both in the present and in the past, further enriching the reflection on human relations in this particular historical context. Thus, even if the story takes place in the United States, the themes raised are familiar with what we have experienced in the Caribbean.
From a literary point of view, I liked the concept of the novel and the accessible style of the author who, although denouncing the horrors of history, offers a truly captivating story. From a historical point of view, I also found it interesting to be able to imagine the thoughts that may have crossed the men and women of that other time. Have you ever read this novel by Octavia Butler? What did you think of that? Do you have any other books in mind of the same kind to suggest to me?
Butler, Octavia Estelle, Liens de sang, Paris, Dapper, 2000. (trad, Nadine Gassie)