“All that you touch
All that you Change
The only lasting truth
In Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler tells the story of Lauren, a teenager living in a small rural neighbourhood and struggling to stay alive in a decimated version of 2024 California. We follow her as she makes decisions to adapt and find a way out of the dead-end that is a life with no hope and no exit.
In this version of the future first published in 1993, 21st-century America sees its political life corrupt and in shambles, its environment on the brink of disaster and its people uneducated and violent.
From the middle-class hamlet where she grew up and where her people manage to make a living out of the land, Lauren waits for the opportune moment to set out and find a place to regroup and rebuild. In the process, she finds an unexpected community and begins to trace the outline of an entire belief system.
The tone throughout the novel oscillates between cold and rational and poetic and spiritual, all crucial qualities to survive in a world where everything seems lost. In this book (the first of duology), Octavia E. Butler eerily predicted a situation that feels all too familiar now, but also gave readers hope, through Lauren’s youthful energy and resourcefulness, as well as humans’ capacity to adapt and change. A dystopian read that feels all the more relevant and important today.