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Parable of the Sower | [Octavia E. Butler]

Parable of the Sower

God is change. That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose unlikely prophet is 18-year-old Lauren Olamina. The young woman's diary entries tell the story of her life amid a violent 21st-century hell of walled neighborhoods and drug-crazed pyromaniacs - and reveal her evolving Earthseed philosophy. Against a backdrop of horror emerges a message of hope: if we are willing to embrace divine change, we will survive to fulfill our destiny among the stars.
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Publisher's Summary

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Octavia E. Butler paints a stunning portrait of an all-too-believable near future. As with Kindred and her other critically-acclaimed novels, Parable of the Sower skillfully combines startling visionary and socially realistic concepts.

God is change. That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose unlikely prophet is 18-year-old Lauren Olamina. The young woman's diary entries tell the story of her life amid a violent 21st-century hell of walled neighborhoods and drug-crazed pyromaniacs - and reveal her evolving Earthseed philosophy. Against a backdrop of horror emerges a message of hope: if we are willing to embrace divine change, we will survive to fulfill our destiny among the stars.

For her elegant, literate works of science fiction, Octavia E. Butler has been compared to Toni Morrison and Ursula K. LeGuin. Narrator Lynne Thigpen's melodious voice will hold you spellbound throughout this compelling parable of modern society.

©1993 Octavia E. Butler; (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (312 )
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  •  
    Aaron E. Houseknecht 06-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Enthralling speculative fiction"

    I had to reread this for a book club, so got the audible version. I was delighted with the narration--the perfect voice for Lauren's first-person narrative.
    Published in 1993, the book's vision of the future is ever so closer to reality and I can see it as a possibility even more than when I first read it in 1996.
    Butler's writing style is sparse, but with enough evocative description to let the reader envision the settings and characters. She handles the brutal scenes with just the right touch; I neither need nor want the full gory details. She gives just enough to let us know what is happening.
    Rereading this has made me want to go back and reread her other works and the few I missed. Science/speculative fiction lost a bright star when we lost Butler to an unexpected aneurism. I would have liked to see her take on where we are headed twenty years later.
    Andie Ptak

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Sine 02-28-15
    Sheila Sine 02-28-15 Member Since 2009
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    "YA Dystopia Done Well"

    This YA dystopian novel and protagonist are well-written, engaging, and deep.

    Thigpen's narration is beautiful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Canada 02-11-14
    Dan Canada 02-11-14
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    "Story wasn't revelatory, performance fairly flat"
    What would have made Parable of the Sower better?

    I feel like there were too many tropes used, not enough character development.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Octavia E. Butler again?

    probably not


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Lynne Thigpen?

    probably not, was a bit flat, didn't convey the intensity of some scenes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Jackson, TN, United States 11-30-13
    Tammy Jackson, TN, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Wonderful!"
    What did you love best about Parable of the Sower?

    I bought this book yesterday and i stayed up all night just to listen to it-there was no way i was going to bed until i got to the end. I really really loved this book and can not wait to read the 2nd book in this series. I feel that Ms. Butler intensified what is going on today by the 10th power. People not having jobs, widespread racism, slavery, fear of whats around the next corner, etc.... all of it is was escalated in this book.
    I was wondering about Lauren's community i know they thought they were doing the right thing by staying behind their giant wall and locked gate, but you would think this intelligent community would have figured out a way to help the really poor on the other side of the wall by helping them out in some shape, form, or fashion would have saved their own lives but they were content on letting those people starve and die. Maybe that's what Lauren figured out when she started helping people on her journey that you can't turn a blind eye on the helpless.
    I can understand why this book won awards it makes us think about our own community and who we are as a people and what we would do in this situation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherron E. Allen-woods USA 03-13-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great story about a scary future."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Parable of the Sower to be better than the print version?

    Yes . I had read the print edition many years ago and thought it was very good. However hearing the story narrated made it seem very real.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Parable of the Sower?

    When one of the main characters went to work, got afew blocks from home with friends and just disappeared.


    What about Lynne Thigpen’s performance did you like?

    She seemed to really be the character. She has great tonality.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alysia Redondo Beach, CA, United States 02-26-13
    Alysia Redondo Beach, CA, United States 02-26-13 Member Since 2013

    Just another girl with too many books and not enough time for them all.

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    "A Bit Dark but Beautiful"

    This is the second book I have read by Octavia Butler. And I have to say that this one was darker than Kindred. This book was dark yet gripping.
    This book is was written in a journal style of a teenager named Lauren Olamina. The only daughter of a neighborhood preacher in 2024, California. The world has changed and violence, poverty, hunger is everywhere. Did I say violence? Wheww! I had to take a minute and stop here and there due to the graphic nature of the violence in this book. I think I am kinda ok with a bad guy (character) getting murdered, raped, or burned but when it happens to children in a book it seems to take my breath away. And not in a good way. The violence in 2024 does not discriminate at all. Young, old, men and woman are victims in this book.
    But for some reason I was hooked to find out what happens to Lauren in this desperate landscape. Lauren's dream of creating an Earthseed community builds up as she travels from her home to a new Northern community. This is the backbone and the silver lining in the book that keeps the reader interested. I found myself worrying for Lauren and the people she meets along the way.
    I really enjoyed the thoughtfulness of Octiavia Butler's writing. As I was listening to the book I could sense Octavia was giving us a glimpse of the future with a dose of the extreme terrible on top. What would happen if the $4.00 a gallon gas jumped to $40.00 a gallon? I for one would have to quite my job. Then what?
    If you have a strong constitution and can handle violence in all forms then you might find this a great read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amos PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 12-19-12
    Amos PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 12-19-12
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    "50% Brilliant"
    Where does Parable of the Sower rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Parable of the Sower is one the best audiobooks that I've listened to, for the first half.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Parable of the Sower?

    The narrative of the slow unraveling of Lauren's community paired with her own transformation into adulthood is facinating and beautifully put together. Unfortunately this level of narrative doesn't carry into the second half of the book. I'll save the spoilers, and only say that the pace, character development, and cast of characters get extremely herky-jerky. This is not at all the fault of the producers of this audiobook, but a problematic feature of Butler's novel.


    Have you listened to any of Lynne Thigpen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Lynne Thigpen is terrific as a narrator. She is very well cast for the part. I haven't heard any of her other performances, but this one is delivered with a smart understanding of the character and appealing aesthetic sensibility. Both the idealism of young Lauren, and her character's innate wisdom and strength come through clear as a bell.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D 07-16-12
    D 07-16-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Gorgeous, gripping, and dark but hopeful!"

    It's a journey that you take along with the main character, as she grows and changes, struggles and learns, and as the people around her do the same. I love how poetic it is, how honest it is in its darkness without tending toward sensationalism. As a reader (especially with Lynne Thigpen's fantastic performance), you become as horrified and as cynical as the primary characters at times, but you (like they) can never fully let go of that hope that there must be something more to find, to build, at the end of all that hardship and suffering, a way to survive, even thrive. And even through all the challenges and the loss, there are still those moments - of laughter, of beauty, of communion ... of positive humanity, It is gorgeous, a masterfully written and authentic-to-humanity work and world.

    It reminds me why I fell in love with Octavia Butler's writing in the first place.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christa Decatur, Georgia, United States 07-06-12
    Christa Decatur, Georgia, United States 07-06-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Bleak but worth reading."

    I think this is Butler's darkest work, but it does have some interesting things to say about human nature, the disintegration of society and religion and it's role in shaping communities.

    Lauren Olamina is a Cassandra in her struggling walled neighborhood, trying to warn her friends and family of the disaster she sees looming, but no one will listen. When the worst comes to pass, she's cast out on the road, trying to find safety and build not only a new family, but a dream of a better future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Kinkade 01-21-10
    Jay Kinkade 01-21-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Parable of the Sower (Unabridged)"

    This is an interesting book. It starts out OK, a little hard to follow though, since it takes place just 10 or so years from now. The world is much different! The book never pays off... An interesting concept and good imagery... Worth a listen, but not for-filling in the end for me.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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