Kindred, by Octavia Butler

Kindred - Octavia E. Butler

Writing about literature shouldn't make intangible feelings obvious ones. It shouldn't pantomime nuance, or float those subtleties an author steeped into the novel’s tone. This is how it is to write about Kindred, a story rife (for any time) with aching parallels, and built on that bonework of slavery that America has so often broken in literature and, in life, reset:  everything you mouth ruins the words.  Kindred isn't an easy novel to read, and will take time to assimilate, and that is the best an author could hope for: that the novel lasts and lives -- uncomfortable and, for a time, inarticulate -- inside those who read it.  That is how we can talk about it.  In how it worms inside us, and in how we see something like that level of abuse living inside the people we love, the people we are.  It’s an underskin, and it feels base to split apart, instead of ourselves, a novel that does so well at making us know better the inner muscles of the world we inherit, and inhabit, and pollute with misunderstanding and actionless self-knowledge.  Let the ugly part of literature live for a while, and perhaps spare that ugliness from the rest of the world, until you are able to recognize and articulate how much it is yourself.