This is a deceptively simple and truly wonderful book. If you've read any reviews of it at all, and/or have not been living in a cave, you know the premise. A black woman of the 1970's inexplicably finds herself back in the antebellum south, living among the people -both black and white - who will become her ancestors. The brilliance here is in the discipline and economy with which Butler lays the story before us. Here it is, slavery and its corruption of the spirit for the enslaved and the enslavers - plonk, on the table, make of it what you will.
One of the things I love a great deal about Butler is the way she stays out of the foreground of her own stories. Some authors have a very loud very distinctive authorial voice, and almost seem like characters in their own right. That can be fun too. But Butler is like a clear pane of glass through which I see only her characters and her tale - I can almost fool myself into believing the narrator is not there. But of course she is there, selecting every spare, precise, beautifully placed word.