Octavia E. Butler
Dana is a "modern" young black woman living with her husband, Kevin, in Los Angeles, 1976. Suddenly, she finds herself in Maryland, 1819, where slavery is a way of life. She sees a young, white, red-headed boy struggling in a river, and realizes that she must save his life.
She figures out that he is her ancestor, Rufus Weylin, and she must keep him from danger until he has children with her other ancestor, the slave, Alice; thus ensuring her own existence.
Life is, of course, extremely dangerous for a black woman in the South of the 1800's, and Dana finds that when her life is threatened she is sent back to 1976. Yet, any time that Rufus is in danger, she is called back to the past.
Gosh, where to begin? This was an amazing book! Butler was such a talented writer! She never once lost the voice of any of the dichotomous characters, whether Dana or Rufus; it was as if the characters were speaking directly, telling their stories, while the author retreated into the background. Even among great writers, it is a rare talent for the author to completely disappear, IMO.
What a powerful novel! It was painful to read, and...important.
The symbiotic relationship between Dana and Rufus seemed to stand for the relationship, in general between slave and master. The way that Dana acclimated herself to the 1800's and the realities of slavery, and the other methods she found to cope were all very telling.
This book leaves the reader with so many thoughts and ideas; has so many points for discussion, that it would be the perfect read for a book club.
I urge not just book clubs, but everyone, to read this important work!