I picked up this book on a whim after reading the back blurb in a book store and being utterly unable to stop thinking about it again. Something in the blurb mesmerized me, and I knew I had to know more.It's a fascinating story that ended up leaving me tied to my couch for 3 hours straight while I read it. It gives you a very unusual insight into the lives of black people in the South in the early 19th century, and how an otherwise decent white person can become so much a product of his time that he turns cruel too, because that's all he has ever known.Octavia Butler left a number of things unexplained - why did Dana suddenly start travelling in time on her 26th birthday? Why not before? And once she did start, why did the travels occur so quickly, one after another, rather than spread out over several years? Why did she lose her arm (no spoiler, this happens in the prologue)? And will she continue travelling after the events described in the book occurs? These unanswered questions did bother me somewhat, but not enough to distract from the powerful message of the plot itself. I'm glad the book wasn't any longer than it was (267 pages) - I'm not sure I could have borne it.