I’m not sure I can say that I really loved this book, because it’s post-apocalyptic near-future science fiction and Octavia Butler’s story is stark, harsh, brutal…
In fact, this sort of dystopian/post-apocalyptic storytelling is not really my thing, so it is quite a tribute for me to say that I really liked it.
Here’s what I liked: this is a story about real people in a world radically altered, and not for the better, by climate change. The characters, like the rest of the story, are starkly drawn—but they’re believable and human and very real. The story is told from the first person point of view so readers inhabit the world view of the main character, Lauren Olamina.
I love the character of Lauren Olamina: her youth, determination, courage, cussedness, and devotion to her family and friends. I love that in the midst of surviving her post climate change world, Lauren is also founding her own religion, Earthseed. To find out all the ins and outs of that, though, you’ll have to read the book—I’m not even going to attempt to explain it to you beyond the central tenet: God is Change.
I also liked that the consequences of climate change are plausible and believably drawn. In this respect the spare storytelling style is a strength: this is not a world or a story where there is any room for self-indulgence, including in the writing.
Nonetheless the story flows and as I reader I cared about the characters. In terms of what was not to like so much, I did notice that there were a lot of guns and gun-related scenes. This may not be surprising in what is essentially a survivalist tale; nonetheless, the gun focus intruded for me, and not in a good way.
Overall, however, I now understand why this mid-1990’s book is considered a classic and would recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian or post-apocalyptic storytelling, as well as character-driven books. Fans of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Creyke, Hilary St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, or Justin Cronin’s The Twelve will probably also enjoy Parable Of The Sower.
To find out more about the author, click on:
Disclosure: I read a friend’s copy of Parable Of The Sower, made available to me for the purposes of reading, enjoyment—and now this report back to you. 😉