Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Talents

by Octavia E. Butler

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Parable of the Talents 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful and prophetic look at a possible direction that society can lead to. I am also happy that a Character of African decent can be portrayed with such depth and intelligence. This sequel of Parable of the Sower is a must read for all people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the most brilliant piece of writing I have ever read. It took me 2 months to read it because I had to put it down every few pages just to mentally digest some of the ideas she puts forth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anything by Octavia E. Butler is truly a work of great art, and Parable of the Talents is one of her finest ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tis book is the best fiction book i have ever read its even better that harry potter in my opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an adult, and I loved this book, Octavia Butler is one of the best authors I have read. Very different and new and fascinating. I would love to meet this brave woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my all time favorites. So much of it can be seen in our current reality that this could actually happen. An exceptional read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another great book and wonderful charactors, I am excited to think that there might be a sequel.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn¿t like this nearly as much as the first book, Parable of the Sower. In fact, I enjoyed it less and less as the book progressed. At first, it seemed like a continuation of the previous story: things are semi-stable in a U.S. gone mad¿whoops, things fall to pieces¿Lauren¿s personal drive and charisma save a few people¿rinse and repeat. A little of this for continuity would have been okay, but I had almost enough of it in the first book and it was time to move on to something else, especially to an exploration of the whole concept of Earthseed. Unfortunately, that didn't happen until the final few pages when, suddenly, the distopic elements just go away.The exploration of Earthseed never happened. For a major theme¿almost a character¿of the book, it got surprisingly short shrift. Lauren talked a lot about it but we never really saw its effects. For me, it was a violation of the classic dictum about fiction: ¿Show me, don¿t tell me.¿ The end result was that it felt hollow, as if Butler (and, by extension, Lauren) didn¿t really buy any of it, and was exerting a lot of effort.And the characters weren¿t able to save the story. I liked Lauren a lot in the first story. I still like her but she steps to the side to share center stage with other narrators, becoming a little more remote and insubstantial in the process. Her daughter, the primary narrator, is too petulant and self-absorbed to excite any positive feelings and her one other blood relation, also a narrator, turns out to be a minor sort of monster.Three quarters of the way through the story, as it became a litany of endless rape stories, and her daughter¿s groundless bitterness toward everything continued to grate on me, and the characters I actually enjoyed had died or moved out of the story, and the tide of Bad Things kept rolling¿I found myself saying, ¿I just don¿t care anymore.¿The only remaining question of real interest to me is the exact meaning of the title¿i.e., what is Butler¿s intended parallel between the biblical parable and Lauren¿s story?While I won¿t change the rating of Parable of the Sower based upon its sequel, I wouldn¿t have spent time on it had I known that the second half of the overall story would be like this.
delta351 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was better than Parable of the Sower. As I read it, I had flashbacks to The Handmaid's Tale, in that this society treats women as second class citizens. A theocratic government controlled the country, and I interpreted it as another comparison to the Moral Majority of the 90's taking over society. This world was much more detailed than Handmaid's Tale, and covered dystopian conditions over a much larger scale. I particularly enlightened by the section addressing the breakdown of the public education system. Acorn community citizens were able to educate each other. I am intrigued by the concept that in a collapsing society, poor children will not get education they deserve. Public education will come to an end, and it will only be available to the wealthy, and through private and religious organizations. I think this is relevent due to deteriorating economic conditions in the US and elsewhere.There wwere some good survivalist tenets also, like cacheing? supplies and money, salvage, and general self reliance.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A reread of Parable of the Sower reveals a dark vision of the near future that is eerily reminiscent of the pictures we all saw on TV following Hurricane Katrina, a frighteningly realistic portrayal of poverty and anarchy that is all too easy to imagine following on the heels of global warming¿s devastation. The follow-up, Parable of the Talents, is even more grim and harrowing than its predecessor in its depiction of an America plunged into chaos. Butler deftly picks up the threads of the major issues facing us today ¿ climate change, the widening gap between rich and poor, the privatization of education and social services ¿ and follows them to the inevitably disastrous results if these problems aren¿t addressed. Most frightening of all is the depiction of an America in the grips of Christian extremists who murder and enslave people and separate children from their parents, just because they do not hold the same beliefs.But Butler¿s story is one of hope too: of a prophet leading her people toward a better future, following a spiritual practice that makes more sense to me than most organized religions I know of, and of a goal ¿ to sow the seeds of humanity throughout space ¿ that I have always believed held the key to our survival as a species. God is change, indeed, but instead of fighting it or surrendering to it, just recognize it and use it to make your goals a reality. This message is contained within a work of fiction that paint a frightening picture of the future, but it rings very true to me.
jlparent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lauren Olamina's vision of Earthseed continues in this sequel to the "Parable of the Sower". It's slightly less powerful than the first book but still, a very worthy read. Olamina's first Earthseed community, Acorn, is thriving and slowly growing when extremists come in and destroy it. The adults are made slaves and children are taken. Eventually she and others escape and she attempts to find her stolen infant daughter (Larkin). At the same time, she still wholeheartedly believes in Earthseed and continues to teach the beliefs. Each of Olamina's journal entries is prefaced with words from her now-adult, estranged daughter. Each encapsulates how the women survived and kept on in a difficult world and their eventual reunion. There is hope, bitterness, grief, and joy in this novel. It is not action-packed but still is engaging. In a general way, it reminds me of titles such as The Road, Oryx & Crake, etc. I found Olamina to be the most interesting character in her refusal to give up on life, on change, on hope - no matter what she or others suffered. Some may say she was narrow in her views or obsessive, but she didnt just care about her vision - she cared about others and their condition - to me, that is honorable.To sum up, read it - after you read the 1st one (Parable of the Sower).
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This could possibly be my favorite Butler novel (and at this point I've read them all except for two). It's a sequel to -"The Parable of the Sower" which gets you intimately connected with the characters. Then in this one you get to see them continue to suffer and struggle and survive (or not in some cases). By the end of the story I ended up screaming (out loud) at the characters that I hated and congratulating (also out loud) the ones that I liked when they succeeded at somethng. The plot was interesting but after reading her other works I'm starting to see a formula. These things are in almost all Butler's books.1) Strong, Black, Female main character (makes sense and there definitely aren't enough of them but I would have liked to see her branch out occasionally).2) Moving a race to the stars or evolving a race to create a kind of racial immortality. It's almost as if all the books are linked in someway.3) Intense suffering in a harsh environment. As the song says, "Nobody does it better." Although Russell's "The Sparrow" is probably at least as full of emotional suffering.The only other problem I had with this book is the "sharer" thing. I could have been completely removed and it wouldn't have effected the book in the least. I was sure it would end up being the key to some major plot element but it wasn't.
the_awesome_opossum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Parable of the Talents is the sequel to Parable of the Sower, and begins with the growth of Acorn, the Earthseed community which Lauren has established. The story is told half by excerpts from Lauren's journal that she kept over the next few years, and expanded upon by her daughter Larkin later. This book is more political than Parable of the Sower; much of the future is defined by Christian America, the majority political party of the US, who have denounced Earthseed as a dangerous cult. Even so, Lauren gathers new members and spreads the ideology of Earthseed, against all opposition in the brutal society which America has become. Parable of the Talents was an interesting read, and Lauren is one of the strongest female characters I've ever encountered, but Octavia Butler writes dystopian literature so well, and so grim, that it kind of weighed me down to read it. Still, a fascinating and unique story
beserene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This sequel to 'Parable of the Sower' reads differently than the first; instead of only seeing the world through Lauren Olamina's journal entries, we have the added voices of Lauren's daughter and even some sections from Bankole, her husband. The shift between these perspectives is sometimes jarring for the reader, but I do think that the multiplicity and the family dynamic both serve to open up the narrative in a productive way. Once again Butler brazenly approaches ideas of religion and politics, but this time the novel is less hopeful, even less spiritual in tone. The sections from the daughter's perspective are touched with bitter flavor, as the character struggles to come to terms with her mother's persona and the religious relationships that she has no part in. Ultimately, this is a novel about suffering, from multiple viewpoints, and about reality. That reality angle may seem a hard sell when one considers that this is a science-fiction-post-apocalyptic-near-future novel, but the way Butler has framed both the circumstances in which the characters find themselves and the extreme attitudes of some of the people they face will ring eerily true for 21st century readers, at least those who have been paying attention to the religio-political rhetoric that has been flying around in the US recently. For a novel published in the nineties, it feels impeccably timely. This is not an easy novel to read. The characters are harder -- life's experiences have made them that way -- and the events are even more horrific to witness, but as with any good future fiction, there are important messages to comprehend here. Perhaps even more importantly, there are vivid people and complex ideas to face -- the sheer magnitude of Butler's skill never fails to impress. There were some frustrating moments in the process, but this is absolutely worth reading. Recommended.
faganjc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Innovative: this book tackles spirituality, feminism, race, and class issues and captures the complexity of all four. Superb in execution. Why give it a 2.5? Mostly, it's a personal thing: I just didn't enjoy reading it. Substantive critique: not every evil man is a *rapist*, and the bad guys in this book all seemed to be. That got pretty tiresome and 2-dimensional. When the Christian American splinter folks took over Acorn, you knew they were gonna be rapists... of course!!
LBrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Butler writes of a not-too-distant future in which climate change and economic crises have overturned society. The U.S. is in especially bad shape. Law and order are essentially non-existent; and most people are struggling on their own to survive poverty and violence. Slavery is back and nearly all rights, especially those of women, are gone. Extreme fundamentalist Christians are gaining power, leaving them free to burn "witches" and herd all "heathens" into concentration camps.In the midst of this chaos, Lauren Olamina sees humanity's best hope in a new belief system she calls Earthseed. She teaches that God is change, and humanity can only save itself by working towards its Destiny--to colonize other planets.The story is told partly through the writings of Olamina's daughter, but mostly through journal entries written by Olamina and those connected to her. It's a narrative style I frequently enjoy and it's used to great effect here. The characters become very real through the various first person accounts.This was often a harrowing book to read, but well worth it. It was the first Butler novel I've read; and I'm definitely going to read more.
PhoebeReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Before I get into my review of Parable of the Talents, I'd like to make a general complaint about publishers who refuse to make it clear when a book is a sequel, or comes late in a series. I picked up this thick little volume at a book sale--the only Butler novel I could find, and shelved in the African-American Literature section, no less, despite being terribly and clearly dystopic science fiction. Because I've been trying to be better about reading books in order over the past several years, I checked both the back cover and inside list of Butler's published works. Not only was there no indication that this was a sequel, but it was also listed before Parable of the Sower on the inside flap, implying that this was the first book of the series.I think it's a dirty trick by publishers who, I suppose, think readers are less likely to pick up the second book, and I think it does a disservice to the readers.That being said, I'm not sure that my reading experience was at all marred by reading Parable of the Talents first, because I didn't even realize that I was reading a sequel until about two hundred pages in. This novel stands on its own incredibly well. Though, I'm sure, I missed out on some information which would have established the characters and the universe more firmly, I was actually only vaguely aware of this, and instead initially took this as one of the novel's strengths--that the universe felt complete and real; that the interactions within the universe by various characters did not need thorough introductions, because that's more true to how real people interact with the world around them.Parable of the Talents is a post-apocalyptic novel set in the near-future United States. The ice caps are melting and religious extremists have taken control of the US government. Amidst this, Lauren Olamina attempts to found both a community, Acorn, and a religion, Earthseed, which places human destiny in the stars. It's told through a series of journals and writings by four different characters; this is effective, but I found the two male perspectives offered largely dispensable. This is really a novel about mothers and daughters, and Butler offers strong, distinctive voices and a unique perspective on this relationship in the writings of Lauren and daughter Larkin.The characters here, both those two and the supporting cast, are very real. Though Lauren's husband Bankole is only with us for about half of the narrative, he's very realistically drawn; his concerns and characterizations felt incredibly true to life, and I found myself mourning the loss of him right along with Lauren.I wasn't quite sure of how I felt about Earthseed, though, and the religious verse that opened each chapter. It's a fairly simple and self-evident philosophy, which suggests, to me, that we were meant to feel utterly sympathetic toward it. This made me a bit uncomfortable--was this Butler's way of proselytizing?--and it also meant that Larkin's later objections to Earthseed felt false, or at the very least, petulant.The universe that Butler creates for us is a huge one, and quite immersive. Ultimately, I felt that the book could have easily supported another hundred pages. Instead, the ending felt rushed. We don't get to hear Lauren's voice after Earthseed becomes a successful movement, and I would have loved to experience it from her perspective.But still, the long-awaited interaction between Lauren and Larkin touched me at the end. It was incredibly sad and very affecting. This was another well-done novel from Butler. I look forward to reading the first in the series, even if I know, ultimately, how it ends.
storyjunkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A masterful example of craftsmanship, this epistolary style narrative manages to range from dystopia to future without ever losing the complicated, contradictory human nature of it's characters.This was an emotionally difficult book to read, the way that the news is difficult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Octavia Butler writes the best and most human science fiction ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of her most awesome piece of art.
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