“Kindred” is a 1979 novel by Octavia E. Butler that blends science fiction with historical fiction by combining time travel with slave narratives. Dana is a Black woman who is a writer living in Los Angeles. She suddenly finds herself being transported back and forth between the then-present and a plantation in Maryland before the Civil War. During her travels to the past, Dana meets ancestors both enslaved and slave owners at different points in their lives. In effort to ensure that she will exist in the future, Dana tries to balance navigating antebellum society with attempting to have a positive influence on her ancestors.
Category: <span>Book Reviews</span>
“The True History of Paradise” by Margaret Cezair-Thompson in a sense tells the history of Jamaica through the lives and experiences of a fictional character and her family. The book opens in 1981 when political violence tore Jamaica apart and created a state of emergency that resulted in many people fleeing the country. Jean Landing is a young woman of mixed heritage from a financially comfortable and politically connected family. Devastated by the violence that now plagues the country, Jean plans to emigrate to America. When her sister dies right as she prepares to leave, the loss of her family member and beloved country causes her to look back over her life and we also get some insight into the lives of her ancestors.
“White Rage” by Carol Anderson examines the reality that Black efforts at progress and achievement are often met with resistance and a retrenchment of obstacles. Since the Civil Rights Movement and especially during riots, much has been made of Black people angrily lashing out against injustices and a lack of access to resources. Instead of focusing on the issues that lead to protests and riots, greater attention is often placed on what’s referred to as “Black rage” and calls for adherence to respectability politics. But looking back through American history, Anderson examines America’s historic and present “White rage”, the systemic oppression of Black progress.
A review of “The Death of Vivek Oji” by Akwaeke Emezi, a novel that examines gender identity and cultural norms. In some ways, it’s a murder mystery where you as the reader have limited information about who or what killed Vivek. As the story unfolds, you learn about Vivek and how the family and friends around him navigate him being different. And also the circumstances that lead to his death.
“Dancing in the Glory of Monsters” by Jason Stearns attempts to explain the causes of the Congo Wars and the events that unfolded once the fighting began. Unlike in other wars, there is no single individual or group to fully blame for the conflict because there were so many different parties involved from within the country and surrounding nations. The conflict received relatively little coverage in other parts of the world due in part to its complexity. The media likes simple stories with obvious headlines and this conflict provided everything but that.