Grateful American Book Prize

Patriotic Pick for February 2023

by Octavia E. Butler

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here is one such title, suggested by Liz Robelen, a longtime review editor at the Washington Independent Review of Books, who once had the privilege of teaching history at Edmund Burke School in Washington, DC:

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. “This is a fictional, first-person account of a young African American writer dragged by an unknown power back and forth in time between her Los Angeles life in 1976 and that of her Black ancestor on a plantation in pre-Civil War Maryland,” says Robelen. “While the time-travel element is the author’s invention, Butler modeled the bleak plantation experience on authentic slave narratives, many of which were collected during the Depression by the Federal Writers Project under the Works Project Administration of the New Deal.”

Patriotic Pick is a monthly feature in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

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