Thursday, March 02, 2006

More on Octavia Butler

Here's a personal remembrance from Tananarive Due, courtesy of Tayari Jones's blog (and here's the rather belated New York Times obituary).

By the way, both Jones and Due are writers you should be looking out for if you're not already.

Jones is the author of two really excellent novels, Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling (here are my earlier thoughts, she's a novelist of grace & style and has a great feel for what's important--both of her novels really hit a spot for me, the first around the autobiographical stuff of being a child in the early 80s with the Atlanta murders looming--I think of James Baldwin's essay, too, which is surely the other best-known literary record of that terrible incident--and her second because it is one of the best novels about lying I've ever read).

Due is the author of some horror-genre-but-they-are-so-well-written-it-doesn't-do-justice-to-them novels that I have absolutely loved (thank the public library for this one, I discovered her books in hardcover on the "new book" shelves and have read them with great delight, though mostly before I was blogging so you won't have heard about them here): The Living Blood and My Soul to Keep are completely gripping, while The Good House almost literally haunted me after I read it, I could not stop thinking about the way it laid out alternate lifelines and counterfactual futures. Very, very cool stuff. If you love Stephen King and Clive Barker and also care about high levels of character development and literary accomplishment, Due is the person you must be reading.

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