I would like to lodge a protest at the start of this review against the practice of writing reviews for books that you have too much to say about. (Often too much to say leads to having nothing to say.) I had a really hard time writing a review for this excellent book the first time I read it. I did an all right job three years ago conveying some of my feelings, but mostly I have so many thoughts and feelings about this book that I literally cannot write them all or you would all be reading a small treatise right now that would be better suited for some publication that accepts 30,000 word academic papers from shitty ex-graduate students who have never peer-reviewed anything in their lives. (Does such a publication exist? Probably not. But the internet would take it!)
Long story short this will be even less of a review than I managed last time. Much less. Just assume that I think this book is great and accomplishes what it sets out to, and with great success. The prose is simple, but I am not one of those people who assumes just because a writer’s prose isn’t quote on quote beautiful that it isn’t still masterful. Where Butler chooses to execute her skills is in her story structure, and in her incredible understanding of how not only something imaginary (time travel) and something real (slavery, other historical and contemporary power structures) affect the human mind and its emotions. This is a story about people and how something like slavery takes away our humanity.
So to sum up: read this book; it is great. This review is 280 words long.