MyAmericanFuture

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MyAmericanFuture

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18, 2017: Historical Fictions: Kindred



[Last week, I began teaching my graduate American Historical Fiction: Practice and Theory class for the fourth time, this time as a hybrid course. So this week I’ll briefly highlight (busy with teaching and all) a handful of exemplary historical fictions and related contexts. Share your own favorite historical fictions or authors for a boundary-blurring crowd-sourced weekend post, please!]
Today’s nominee for an amazing American historical novel is Octavia Butler’s
Kindred (1979).
The premise of Butler’s science fiction historical novel is simple enough: a 1970s African American woman suddenly finds herself time traveling back into the antebellum South, where she becomes (or rather, is) a slave. But without spoiling the many amazing places where Butler takes her story from there, I’ll just say that she is centrally concerned with some of the most genuinely historical and American themes: family and legacies, race and its continuous yet shifting presence and meanings, love and hope and hatred and death, community and identity in our past, present, and (it is science fiction after all!) future. One of our most unique, significant, and compelling American novels, historical or otherwise.
Next historical fiction tomorrow,
Ben
PS. What do you think? Other historical fictions or authors you’d highlight?

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