In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterflies

Book - 2010
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It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo's dictatorship. It doesn't have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas--"The Butterflies."

In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters--Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé--speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo's rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez's imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression.


Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2010.
Edition: First Algonquin pbk.
ISBN: 9781565129764
1565129768
Branch Call Number: ALVAREZ
Characteristics: 339 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.

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From Library Staff

2017 Read Across Lawrence selection. Powerful themes of political rebellion, feminism, family, immigration and more are loaded in this classic historical fiction story based on the real Mirabal Sisters.
LPL in partnership with KU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and KU Librarie... Read More »

Ep 05: 2017 Read Across Lawrence pick - historical fiction that brings back to life the Mirabal sisters, three of whom were tragically murdered in the Dominican Republic for speaking out against a dangerous dictatorship.

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LPL_ShirleyB Mar 03, 2017

This wise & realistic, historical fiction is a reverential, poetically-inspired and emotionally difficult read. Big Read indeed! I think everyone should read this book; it felt like a right-of-passage.

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LPL_KimberlyL Nov 25, 2015

I did not intend to re-read this book during the anniversary of the sisters' deaths, but I'm very happy to honor their memory with such an incredible book. If you aren't familiar with Las Mariposas, or Trujillo's despotic regime, then this book is a fantastic introduction! Alvarez embodies the sp... Read More »


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OPL_EllyR Oct 02, 2018

This story could so easily be plot-driven and action-packed, but, in Alvarez's hands, it becomes a slow-building novel about family, safety and conviction, with moments of almost cinematic intensity. She writes such subtle coming-of-age narratives for the Mirabel sisters that it is difficult to say when, exactly, each one decided to act against the Trujillo regime. I love a multi-voice family narrative, and can't imagine this story being told any other way after reading it in this format. I found myself occasionally frustrated at the pacing of the novel, but felt simultaneously appreciative for Alvarez's commitment to a realistic narrative and timeline for her characters.

l
lucygusy
Mar 08, 2018

A great read!

laurauk May 04, 2017

13+ A fictionalized account of the early lives of the four Mirabel sisters who lived under the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and were assassinated in 1960. Meandering, lush style written in four voices.

JCLJoyceM Mar 31, 2017

Beautifully written with the author alternating the storytelling from the viewpoint of the four sisters. While you learn early on that the story will end tragically, you marvel at the guts of these women and the sister who remains. Glad to have a copy on my own shelf as copies are scarce since the Kansas City Star made it a book club read.

LPL_ShirleyB Mar 03, 2017

This wise & realistic, historical fiction is a reverential, poetically-inspired and emotionally difficult read. Big Read indeed! I think everyone should read this book; it felt like a right-of-passage.

s
SarahDormat
Jan 10, 2017

There will be many discussions of this book coming up in February since it has been chosen as LPL's Big Read selection, so I will just say that I loved it and I learned so much about the Dominican Republic and Trujillo's regime. I hope everyone joins us next month in reading this beautiful tribute to the Mirabal sisters.

CMLibrary_JLytal Dec 12, 2015

I absolutely loved this book. Alvarez handles a hauntingly tragic story with compassion, sensitivity and great aplomb. Reader's will fall deeply in live with the characters, laughing with their triumphs and crying with their setbacks. Despite the tragic nature of the story, there is an ebullient optimism to the novel. She also keeps the novel from being to dark through the story's framing narrative that provides a wonderful self-effacing humorous element. This book will stay with you long after you finish it. I cannot recommend it enough.

LPL_KimberlyL Nov 25, 2015

I did not intend to re-read this book during the anniversary of the sisters' deaths, but I'm very happy to honor their memory with such an incredible book. If you aren't familiar with Las Mariposas, or Trujillo's despotic regime, then this book is a fantastic introduction! Alvarez embodies the spirit of the four sisters, and gives them new life beyond their martyrdom. I found myself falling back in love with these women, and desperately hoped the story would end in a different way. I honestly don't have enough words for how much I love this book--it's absolutely beautiful.

s
sspaniolo
Aug 17, 2015

This book is so good. The writing, the characters, the settings, all so good!!!!

TulsaTimeTraveler Feb 20, 2014

This book will sweep you away into a setting with beautiful scenery, political turmoil, and a family who struggle to find a balance between standing up for their rights and keeping themselves out of danger.

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Rinve Aug 19, 2012

A story of four sisters, living in the Dominican Republic during the times of Rafael Trujillo, a dictator, whom the Mirabal Sisters believe that Trujillo should be overthrown because of the abuses he brought to the Mirabal family. Each sister comes in to help bring down but they are soon taken, jailed, exiled, harrased, and persecuted, but in the end they sacrifice themselves, except Dede, the only sister who survives to tell the story of how her and her sisters became heroes.

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