I read this book for a class; it was supposed to be my science fiction book, but it's not actually science fiction. It is, however, a book I'm really glad I read. I'd read a lot of wonderful things about Octavia Butler after she died, and the things I read about her writing made me feel like they'd be books I'd love.
Well, this book was difficult to read, but certainly captivating. I read the first 40 pages at lunch one day, and the rest of it the next day with hardly a break. It's the story of Dana, a black woman who finds herself pulled into the past, carrying the responsibility of protecting one of her ancestors--a white slave-owner named Rufus who, despite his horrific treatment of the slaves and of herself, Dana feels a kinship with.
She and her white husband, Kevin, discover that she's pulled into the past when Rufus is in danger for his life, and she's pulled back into the present when she's afraid for her own life. She is forced to play slave, to submit to beatings and to treat the wounds of other, beaten slaves. She brings Kevin with her on one occassion and leaves him behind inadvertently. She tells her tale in the first-person, taking us along with her to her journey to the early 1800s, into the heart-pounding, daily terror of a black slave.