Status: Bookseller Picks
Right before I started reading The Time Traveler's Wife, I read Octavia Butler's Kindred. It was a strange transition to make since they both deal with involuntary time travel, but it was easy to appreciate both books. In Kindred, Dana, a modern, African-American woman is pulled back in time to a plantation in the early 1800s. There, she saves the life of Rufus, a young, white, slave-holding boy, whom she later discovers is one of her ancestors. Dana is then pulled back in time again and again in order to help save Rufus's life, their relationship growing both closer and more contentious as time goes on.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife, I felt that Butler did a better job than Niffenegger at examining the potential ramifications of time travel. For example, would you save a person if you knew that he was going to end up raping a woman, but if you also knew that that act would lead to your own birth? Butler manages to deal expertly with that issue and others, such as slavery. This was one of the most thought-provoking novels I've ever read.
Octavia Butler was a terrific story-teller, and if you haven't read any of her books yet, this would be a good place to start.
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