I read Octavia’s book decades ago because I have a friend who is also a black woman and an aspiring science fiction writer. I remember vividly that I read and enjoyed the book but I could not remember the premise. I vaguely remembered that she shifted between time, space, and cultures but not much else.
My most recent read was the Audible version – the experience was significantly different. This time I could hear the narrator’s tones, character accents, and pacing of the story. I came to know the characters clearly through the skillful mastery of Butler’s storytelling. I came to feel sadness in the plight of both slave and free women… all women including white women in this story were shadows with dim lights. By the time I heard the last word, I tried to understand the difference between my first reading decades ago and the most recent telling of the tale.
As I discussed the topic with a friend in our book club, of which this is the assigned book, we agreed that the trauma behind the George Floyd murder and subsequent social injustices heighten our awareness that although history is behind us, the present stinks of the same outcomes. Although Dana’s legacy is that she was born politically free, she still has the uncertain economic future of Carrie and her mother… I recommend reading as it is uniquely well written from a black woman’s point of view.