At the age of 10 years old Julia Alvarez had to flee the Dominican Republic because her father had gotten on the wrong side of the Trujillo regime A strong desire to understand this particular time period, and what happened to Las Mariposas, caused Alvarez to write this book.This book is told in alternating first person POVs from each of the four sisters over a period of 22 years We know that the Butterflies did indeed die in 1960 but it doesn t take the horror out of the moment when Ded finds out that they did It s a somewhat emotional book that I really enjoyed That said, I would have liked to have seen interactions between the characters and have of an understanding of why Alvarez s characters made the choices they did What would cause four women from a macho society to boot to put their lives on the line the way that these women did I would have liked to see a bit in that direction.I did really like it and I especially liked the cultural information that was a part of the story I also really liked the way that it showed how much these women inspired the rest of the country, to the point that they became such an inspiration that they almost became public property as a celebrity would This has inspired one of those moments when I need to absorb D.R history through osmosis because I want to know everything right now A Wikipedia page is insufficient. I hate reviewing books that I only found mediocre I really, really wanted to like this one I thought the plot was very promising Frankly, I really didn t know much about Trujillo s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and I thought by reading this I would learn a lot and I did I just wasn t captivated by the story or the characters However, this book was based on fact and that should count for something I also think that in this case, it was me, not the book Just like when a boyfriend breaks up with his girlfriend and says Its me, not you I did however appreciate it for what it was An enlightening story about a dark time in Latin American history I also am grateful that I completed it and learned about this time period. Set During The Waning Days Of The Trujillo Dictatorship In The Dominican Republic In , This Extraordinary Novel Tells The Story Of The Mirabal Sisters, Three Young Wives And Mothers Who Are Assassinated After Visiting Their Jailed Husbands From The Author Of How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents Comes This Tale Of Courage And Sisterhood Set In The Dominican Republic During The Rise Of The Trujillo Dictatorship A Skillful Blend Of Fact And Fiction, In The Time Of The Butterflies Is Inspired By The True Story Of The Three Mirabal Sisters Who, In , Were Murdered For Their Part In An Underground Plot To Overthrow The Government Alvarez Breathes Life Into These Historical Figures Known As Las Mariposas, Or The Butterflies, In The Underground As She Imagines Their Teenage Years, Their Gradual Involvement With The Revolution, And Their Terror As Their Dissentience Is Uncovered Alvarez S Controlled Writing Perfectly Captures The Mounting Tension As The Butterflies Near Their Horrific End The Novel Begins With The Recollections Of Dede, The Fourth And Surviving Sister, Who Fears Abandoning Her Routines And Her Husband To Join The Movement Alvarez Also Offers The Perspectives Of The Other Sisters Brave And Outspoken Minerva, The Family S Political Ringleader Pious Patria, Who Forsakes Her Faith To Join Her Sisters After Witnessing The Atrocities Of The Tyranny And The Baby Sister, Sensitive Maria Teresa, Who, In A Series Of Diaries, Chronicles Her Allegiance To Minerva And The Physical And Spiritual Anguish Of Prison Life In The Time Of The Butterflies Is An American Library Association Notable Book And A National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee The first time I traveled through Mexico, I found this book and read it in three days Towards the end of the story, before the impending tragedy strikes, the oldest and easily the bravest sister is remembering a moment from her youth she and her sisters are playing this game, in the dark, behind their parents farm house the idea was to walk off the porch, into the pitch black of the night, and to go as far as they could before turning back What she remembers, is how everyone always thought she was fearless and on the contrary, how much fear she did feel, how she couldn t breathe, how she didn t know if she could do it and how she just stepped forward anyway Feeling the fear, and walking right into it It really spoke to me at the time I d leapt into this crazy adventure, all by myself, with a backpack and a map, in the middle of nowhere, at a young age and no one could understand what I was doing really, neither could I, but somehow I knew that I needed to do it I needed to conquer this thing I had never read such an apt description of what that feels like. In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia AlvarezIn the Time of the Butterflies is a historical fiction novel by Julia Alvarez, relating a fictionalized account of the Mirabal sisters during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic The book is written in the first and third person, by and about the Mirabal sisters First published in 1994, the story was adapted into a feature film in 2001 The story of the four Mirabal sisters, during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic At school, one of the sisters, Minerva, meets a girl, Sinita, who later became one of her best friends Sinita eventually confided in Minerva the truth about Trujillo that their glorious leader was a killer The sisters make a political commitment to overthrow the Trujillo regime They are harassed, persecuted, and imprisoned, all while their family suffers retaliation from the Military Intelligence Service SIM As vengeance for their political activities, Trujillo orders three of the sisters be killed on Puerto Plata Road, with their driver Rufino, while returning from visiting their husbands in jail The women and driver are beaten to death and later their vehicle and bodies are dumped off a cliff in order to make their deaths look like an accident 2007 1385 385 9789647188999 20 In the time of Batista and the revolution in Cuba, there was another dictator, as bad or worse, ruling in the Dominican Republic His name was Trujillo, and his preferred way of keeping his power was murdering anyone who challenged him, spoke a word against him, or displeased him in any way In the midst of this repression, we find the four Mirabal sisters, Minerva, Dede, Patria and Maria Teresa Mate This fictional account of their lives is riveting and oh so bittersweet The sisters have become known in history as Los Mariposas the butterflies , but each of these women was a distinct and different person Each was motivated by a different urge and desire Each was trying to find her own voice But above all, they were for one another, with one another, loved one another Their bravery ranged from raw courage to a simple inability to desert someone well loved That they put aside their own safety for the preservation of the collective serves as an echo of what true revolution is What true defiance means I wonder at their strength and feel cowed by it When I finished this book, I was literally shaking with sadness and anger Knowing it is based upon real events makes it all the poignant, and Alvarez has done a magnificent job of breathing life back into these women who were martyred for the cause of freedom in the Dominican Republic She alternates between the points of view of the sisters, and in doing so brings each of them to life equally While Minerva is the star of the revolution, each of the other sisters brings her own personality, fears and desires to the table and we, the readers, are handed a feast At the outset, we know the fate of these women, but the old axiom that the journey is important than the destination could not be true than when applied here.In her postscript to my edition, Julia Alvarez acknowledges having merged actual events and imposed her own interpretation onto others She states,I sometimes took liberties by changing dates, by reconstructing events, and by collapsing characters or incidents For I wanted to immerse my readers in an epoch in the life of the Dominican Republic that I believe can only finally be understood by fiction, only finally be redeemed by the imagination A novel is not, after all, a historical document, but a way to travel through the human heart.She has achieved her goal admirably I felt the beating of these hearts and at some point in the story their heartbeats seemed to merge with my own. I m not an Alvarez fan, but I enjoyed getting a fictionalized glimpse into a part of Dominican Republican history Once again, I was so frustrated by history This story is the same story in so many countries But, I was encouraged in Alvarez s afterword when she commented that she gave herself room to fictionalize the characters because the Maribel sisters have become so mythic that they are almost superhuman, but through her book, we can see that any one of us can be as courageous as Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Mate.And although, this book really is a 3 for me, I gave it 4 stars because of the afterword and the epilogue Dede comes full circle if she, not Minerva, is the courageous one afterall We all want the passion and dedication of the Minerva s, but what of the Dede s who live sometimes the harder choice and carry on the story 3.5 stars My original review got sucked into the ether, which is probably a good thing as it was political rant than review that had little or nothing to do with the book, but my motivation for reading this novel was partially fueled by encountering this article The core subject of Julia AlvarezIn the Time of the Butterflies the saga of the four Mirabal sisters and their role in attempting to topple the bloody, 31 year long tyrannical reign of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic is quite compelling Ms Alvarez tries to keep true to their memory with this fictional retelling of their lives, while creating a literary work of art I thought her writing was gorgeous at times particulary the epilogue , yet I would ve preferred elucidation and detail over style and poetics More than a few times I found myself baffled while reading, confused over sequences of events as the POV sometimes with first person narration view spoiler even as we know from the opening pages that that sister is one of three that is assassinated by novel s endso how is she telling her own story hide spoiler I know I m out of step with everyone on this, but I just can t stand this book I ve tried so hard to read it, it just bores me to tears apart from the first part with the girls at the convent school, which I enjoyed However, the convention of the schoolgirl s dear diary becoming dearest dearest little book was a sign of things to come I know Santo Domingo view spoiler which is what the Dominican Republic is called in the Caribbean hide spoiler Favorite novel so far this year 2018 The last twentyfive pages are all outbursts of sobs of the truly ugly kind, by an inconsolable reader Oh this one is GREAT Smudgy words of a wounded family tree, the very human lasting lamentationThere are 2 novels in existence that I am wholly aware of that put the D.R under the Trujillo regime under a magnifying glass that illuminates the complexities, the ugliness, of absolute dictatorships to be deftly simplistic and fraught societal norms to say the least But we Americans don t know nothing of such tyrannical totalitarianisms, right The Mirabal sisters are heroes, martyrs Wealthier than other families, they all have the Revolutionary Heart that goes well with legend and can be displayed in almost majestic light in literature, as occurs here How they get to this place of public adulation, or near Sainthood, it is your absolute pleasure to read about in Alvarez s stunner Definitely a major work of Latin American Historical fiction the other perfect novel that is a companion piece in many respects to this is Mario Vargas Llosa s opus The Feast of the Goat.Basically, it s Little Women in hell.
Julia lvarez was born in New York City Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when lvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC She is currently writer in residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic The farm hosts a school to teach l
- 324 pages
- In the Time of the Butterflies
- Julia Alvarez
- 22 June 2019 Julia Alvarez