In the Time of the Butterflies

Julia Alvarez

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In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterflies 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 assass

  • Title: In the Time of the Butterflies
  • Author: Julia Alvarez
  • ISBN: 9780452274426
  • Page: 265
  • Format: Paperback
  • Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, 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 RepublicSet during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, 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 1960, 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 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award nominee.

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      Published :2018-09-16T21:15:53+00:00

    One thought on “In the Time of the Butterflies

    1. Brina on said:

      Julia Alvarez has been one of my favorite authors for the past twenty years. Her memoirs, both fictional and nonfiction, are laced with poetic humor and often leave me with a smile on my face. Alvarez' family left the Dominican Republic in 1960 in the middle of the revolution to overthrow the dictatorial president Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Because her father had connections, the family was able to escape. Yet, what of those left on the island? In this fictional yet poignant account of the Miraba [...]

    2. Petra X on said:

      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)] and I'm familiar with the bloody, murder [...]

    3. Sarah on said:

      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 [...]

    4. Sara on said:

      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 bec [...]

    5. Saleh MoonWalker on said:

      Onvan : In the Time of the Butterflies - Nevisande : Julia Alvarez - ISBN : 452274427 - ISBN13 : 9780452274426 - Dar 324 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 1994

    6. Helen on said:

      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, D [...]

    7. Snotchocheez on said:

      3.5 stars(My original review got sucked into the ether, which is probably a good thing as it was more 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: mffpost/us/entry/us_582 )The core subject of Julia Alvarez'In 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 Tru [...]

    8. Sarah Anne on said:

      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 Dedé fin [...]

    9. Emma Taylor on said:

      n the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez is an intense tale of the four Mirabal sisters, Minerva, Dedé, María Teresa, and Patricia. The book starts in the 1960s as an interviewer arrives at one of the sister’s houses for an exclusive interview. The story is told in flashback form and eventually makes a full circle back to 1960. In the Time of the Butterflies is extremely captivating; once you start reading, you won’t want to put the book down. Julia Alvarez does a great job of not on [...]

    10. ☮Karen on said:

      This is Julia Alvarez's take on the reign of the Dominican dictator Trujillo and the brave Mirabal sisters who sacrificed their comfortable lives to form a resistance against him.  I also read about them on and watched a short video about the sister who survived.  Julia Alvarez created this story from a few pieces of known facts; the background is of her imagination, based on some truths.  But even so, it serves as an inspiration to the oppressed and especially women of the world to stand up [...]

    11. Tara Chevrestt on said:

      Darn good story with strong Latina characters. A must read for all Hispanic ladies. Until I picked this up, I didn't realize that the Dominican Republic had such a turbulent past. Thus, the book has been educational as well as entertaining.In the sixties there was rebellion. Revolutionists wanted Trujillo, a dictator, out of the way. This book follows four sisters. Patria is the oldest and appears to be your average stay at home wife and mother who occasionally struggles with her deep Catholic f [...]

    12. dianne on said:

      a brilliant novelized version of las tres mariposas - the name given to the 3 sisters who, despite being from a wealthy, landed family fought bravely to their deaths, against Trujillo. i found one of the loveliest insights was how they came to be political in three VERY different ways - one, a traditional mother became angry about the treatment of children and family, another fell madly in love with a freedom fighter, and a third was intrinsically an activist - righteously furious at the inequit [...]

    13. Zanna on said:

      I think I've decided not to re-read this, so I can't review it properly because I've forgotten my thoughts. I'm glad this was brought to my attention by the year of reading women selection because it's an amazing story and an important piece of radical history. As other reviewers note, by focussing on the personal and making the sisters distinct (even idiosyncratic) and flawed Alvarez demonstrates that extraordinary courage comes from people like you and I (Malala Yousefzai's book comes to mind [...]

    14. Erin on said:

      I read this in Spanish because I thought it was originally written in Spanish, being written by a Dominican author and set in the Dominican Republic. But no; it was written in English and I just got some extra reading practice. This is a non-fiction-told-as-fiction, the dramatization of real events. It is the story of the real-life Mirabal sisters, who were members of the underground resistance to the Dominican dictator Trujillo. The story is told over many years in separate chapters from the po [...]

    15. Viv JM on said:

      I loved this fictionalised account of the lives and deaths of the Mirabal sisters. The author gives each sister a distinct voice and motivation for rebelling against the Trujillo regime. She makes them very human and flawed and I think that makes the reader really think about what can give a person the courage to stand up for what they believe. Highly recommended.

    16. Ana on said:

      Nobody touch me. I'm so emotional right now. This book is heartbreaking.

    17. Chrissie on said:

      I have completed the book. I am not as enthralled as when I began it. Why? What went wrong? I am only going to give the book three stars.I am not going to give another synopsis of the book. If that is what you are looking for please see the book description above. I have learned how it might have been to live in the Dominican Republic during the latter half of the 20th Century, mostly under Dictator Trujillo!s reign. The four Mirabel sisters fight against him have today reached mythic proportion [...]

    18. Glenn on said:

      Fictional account of the sad and true story of four sisters in the Mirabal family, three of whom were murdered in November 1960 in the Dominican Republic for working against Trujillo, the dictator in power at the time. A decent read overall and I thought it started out well, but got bogged down in the middle for me, with too many characters and shifting time periods between the chapters that I thought made it difficult to follow the story and keep track of the different sisters, let alone all th [...]

    19. Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast) on said:

      UGH. I'll probably write a half-assed review of this book at some point in the future. But since I had to read it for school, I will have to analyse the shit out of it in class, and right now it's the summertime and I don't want to think any more about In the Time of the Butterflies than I absolutely have to.EDIT 10/15/15: So here's my astoundingly brilliant review This book sucks. I shouldn't say it sucks, I should say that I didn't like it, but any way you phrase it, this book bored the shit o [...]

    20. Lorena on said:

      This was an excellent read, I knew very little about Trujillo's Dictatorship of horrors and that dark part of the Dominican Republic's history. I know this is Historical Fiction, but I have truly enjoyed getting to know Las Mariposas, it makes me feel so bad though about the inaction I have been living on. There are so many people out there that give it all for the wellbeing of the community, even their lives while I just live my confortable little existence and do nothing for others, made me fe [...]

    21. Judy on said:

      Take four sisters, add the backdrop of the oppressive Trujillo regime of the Dominican Republic, include the fizz of drama and voila! introducing In the Time of the Butterflies. Julia Alvarez portrays each sister as a unique individual. The eldest, Patria, encased in her religion; Dede the second-born plays it safe; Minerva is the catalyst; while the youngest, Mate, lives for love, together, make for an intriguing tale. When I picked up this book I hoped I wasn't in for a depressing read. To my [...]

    22. Robert Case on said:

      In the early 1960's the author, Julia Alvarez, arrived in NYC, fleeing with her family from the tyranny of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. She was a young girl. Her father had been part of a resistance cell plotting against the regime. The secret police arrested him before the revolt could begin. A few months after her family's exile, the same secret police would murder three brave sisters on a remote mountain road, along with their driver. They were attempting to return to [...]

    23. Jeanette"Astute Crabbist" on said:

      This is a fictionalized account of the lives of the four Mirabal sisters, Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. They grew up in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo ruled brutally for thirty-one years, merciless and drunk on power. It disgusts me how these vain, arrogant little men like Hitler and Trujillo can wield so much power and do so much damage.The book alternates among the "voices" of the four sisters. The first part of the book tells about their [...]

    24. Mrs. Reed on said:

      I'm on a Julia Alvarez kick. So far, I've just read this and iYo!, but based on these two, she's one of the most imaginative, creative authors I've ever encountered. This is historical fiction in a new sense. She took the stories of famous Dominican revolutionaries and fictionalized pretty much their entire lives. The main parts, of course, are true. Reading it, I was always questioning what was "real" and what was an Alvarezation. When I finished it, I had a little cry (right there on the train [...]

    25. Lisa Vegan on said:

      I can’t rate this book with 5 stars because its fiction/non-fiction format drove me crazy. I’d rather have had a non-fiction book about the Mirabal sisters. Given that there is one surviving sister I’d hope that wasn’t an impossible feat. If it really was, however, then I’d rather this historical fiction story have had entirely fictional characters as the main characters. The pertinent real people could have taken on more minor roles in the story, and then I wouldn’t have minded thei [...]

    26. Xueting on said:

      Gorgeous writing!!! that kept me engaged even when the tone got more and more serious and dark. Alvarez said that though she did a lot of research she took some creative liberties by inventing and collapsing details, but she ultimately wanted to bring out the spirit of the Mirabal sisters as she imagined them. And I really connected to them, women in the early 20th century Dominican Republic who had more fiery courage than I may ever have in my life! I love how, from this novel, I learnt not onl [...]

    27. Kate on said:

      "In the Time of the Butterflies" was beautiful and sad. I loved every one of the sisters. Their sacrifice, during the Trujillo regime, made me question what I would be willing to sacrifice for freedom and it made me think about my sister. The image that made me cry and made me angry was of the sisters standing in the garden one night looking back at the lit house as their mama bustles around getting their children ready for bed. Alvarez says they look at the house with longing as if they were al [...]

    28. Zeren on said:

      1950'lerden itibaren Dominik Cumhuriyet'inde otuz küsür yıl hüküm sürmüş diktatör Trujillo döneminin "kahraman" kadın direnişçileri Mirabal Kardeşler. Tırnak içinde çünkü aslında hiçbiri kahraman olmak istememişler. Hiçbiri bir süper güce sahip değil, kahraman olmakla alakaları olan insanlar da değil. Belki biri, doğuştan isyankar bir ruha sahip Minerva hariç. Bir rejimin son derece sıradan insanları bile nasıl birer direnişçi haline getirdiğini her bir karde [...]

    29. Melanie on said:

      I have mixed feelings about this book. I totally loved reading this book, I liked the perspectives of the women as they grew up and became more and more involved with the revolution movement. Yet, there is a part of me that struggles with it, turning the life of these incredibly inspiring women (yes, I read about them online) into a what is essentially a "light" read. I know I might be quite alone in this and don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but I am torn.

    30. Rusalka on said:

      I got distracted again by life. It really needs to stop getting in the way like that. Last book that was half read on the plane and half in a jet-lagged state was In the Time of Butterflies. This poor book got a bit more love than I would like, as I'm pretty meticulous with my books, as I had a mother of a cold on the plane and sneezed, causing me to wave my hands in the air like a numpty, which then collected my G&T and doused my lap and my book in too much tonic and not enough gin. At leas [...]

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