a handful of earth a handful of sky: the world of Octavia E. Butler


by Lynell George




This is the most original approach to a biography that I've ever "read." I put read in quotes because I had to focus myself to read as opposed to simply flipping through the book. The book is filled with archival images from Butler's library card to stubs from some of her flights to pages from her notebooks(!), so reading the text, which is so elegantly offered by George that one might feel that you're listening to a mutual friend of Octavia Butler's telling you what it was like growing up with her. George, at times, is invisible, and, at other times, she serves as our Virgil into Butler's fairly pedestrian but other-worldly world.