Parable of the Sower (Parable, 1)

This acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel of hope and terror from an award-winning author "pairs well with 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale" and includes a foreword by N. K. Jemisin (John Green, New York Times).

When global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Olamina lives inside a gated community with her preacher father, family, and neighbors, sheltered from the surrounding anarchy. In a society where any vulnerability is a risk, she suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others' emotions.

Precocious and clear-eyed, Lauren must make her voice heard in order to protect her loved ones from the imminent disasters her small community stubbornly ignores. But what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: the birth of a new faith . . . and a startling vision of human destiny.

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368 pages

Average rating: 7.63




Community Reviews

May 10, 2024
9/10 stars
The late American Writer Octavia E. Butler’s novel, Parable of the Sower was published in 1993. The Parable of the Sower is set in the 2020s in California. Economic change and climate change have led society in California to collapse. In Southern California, people either live in fortified towns where many homeless people or enslave people for a corporation in exchange for protection in a company town. The future slave system is not necessarily racially based but often falls within a racial hierarchy. The walled towns are protecting themselves from the hordes of poor people on the move who are following people on drugs that will make them want to set fire to anything. The poor people will do anything to survive. The people on the road and the poor people in town view people who set fire as redistributing the wealth from the people with houses. Lauren Olya Olamina lives in a house in a walled community. Olamina is the daughter of a Baptist preacher. Olamina wants to start a new religion that will suit people in the collapsing California. The religion is called Earthseed. Bulter says in an interview “Lauren Olamina says that since change is the one inescapable truth, change is the basic clay of our lives. To live constructive lives, we must learn to shape change when we can and yield to it when we must. Either way, we must learn and teach, adapt and grow” (Butler 336). The religion contains a defense of governmental funding for space exploration which I found interesting. Butler’s model for the writing about the religious text was the Taoist de Ching of Taoist literature. The title of the novel Parable of Sower comes from Jesus’s parable about missionaries from the Gospel of Saint Mark (Butler 343-344). I thought the novel, Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler was a well-done post-apocalypse novel and sadly realistic novel. Works Cited: Butler, Octavia E. 2019. “A Conversation with Octavia E. Butler” in Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, pages 333-341. New York: The Grand Central Publishing. Butler, Octavia E. 2019. “Reading Group Questions and Topics for Discussion” in Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, pages 342-345. New York: Grand Central Publishing.
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Mar 28, 2024
6/10 stars
I read this book for book club. It was really good but reminded me a lot of “The Road.” There were a lot of good discussions about the hard socioeconomic things happening. This book for sure said a lot about society and our desire to be loved, accepted, and known.
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Feb 02, 2024
9/10 stars
Brilliant brilliant book! I normally love any sort of science fiction dystopian society story, and this one was no different in term of my love for it. I only rate it a 9 (really a 9.5) for the sometimes graphic-ness about inflicted pain and bodily injuries, but I know that they were kinda important to the story.
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Dec 27, 2023
8/10 stars
Dystopian and set in a time (2024-28) just a little too close to today for my comfort. This story of a young woman coming of age and simultaneously leading a rag tag group of others north to something better than LA can offer is at once horrifying and hopeful. Lauren is an inspiration in her preparation for disaster and her wisdom in dealing with human reality, cultivating loyalty and self sufficiency and fighting greed and abuse.
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Nov 03, 2023
4/10 stars
I became interested in this book because of a random article that listed the best science fiction of the past 50 years. In the article, they mentioned how this book and its sequel discuss a new American president who's sole campaign slogan was filled with an empty, nonsensical promise to "Make America Great Again" all the while dealing with a somewhat post-Apocalyptic world. Considering the current political climate of our day, (and our moronic, con artist of a "president") I was intrigued.

I will also say that I am attempting to read more out of my normal "comfort zone" when it comes to the author. While recently taking a mental inventory of the type of author's that I normally read, I thought it would be a good change of pace to read a work by an author who is considered a non-traditional in the science fiction genre.

SO, intriguing premise and a prolific author in the genre that I love? "Sure," I thought, "I'll give it a shot!" But that's about as excited as I got.

Let me first clarify that I was interested in the book from the offset, and even though my interest waned, I was interested enough to finish to see where the narrative went. I also was interested because I know there is a sequel and I'm pretty forgiving to authors who take the first book in a series to really build and mold the world they are creating. But there is really nothing about this book that left me wanting more and I just wanted it to end.

I won't go into detail regarding the plot, characters, or themes ONLY because I don't want to turn someone off from reading this work for themselves and discovering if they like it or not. Because of that, my short review will end in this: I fully plan to continue to give Octavia Butler her due and read other works of hers in the future. She's a great writer, but in this particular instance I was simply left feeling... meh.
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