Opposition in 1960 to Trujillo’s government in the Dominican
Republic could be deadly. Julia Alvarez’s
father was active in the same organization as the Mirabel sisters known as the
Butterflies. He left the country, choosing
to live, they remained and died. In a
work of fiction Alvarez tells the story of their bravery, their commitment, and
their sacrifice. It is perhaps a good
time to read a story about life under the rule of a police state. While the subject is serious, Alvarez builds
the story slowly, letting the reader know four sisters, three who died and one
who lived. She sprinkles the story with
humor, letting the reader have an appreciation for the sisters full life, not
just their tragedy, letting the reader know and care about them. Alvarez knew her subject well; the story is
an edge of your seat portrayal of courage, injustice, and ultimately the triumph
of brave spirits that would not be denied.
"A magnificent treasure for all cultures and all time.” --St. Petersburg Times
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 Leónidas 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 secret crushes to gunrunning, 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 costs of political oppression.
Julia Alvarez’s new novel, Afterlife, is available now.
About the Author
"A gorgeous and sensitive novel . . . A compelling story of courage, patriotism and familial devotion." —People
"Shimmering . . . Valuable and necessary." —Los Angeles Times
"Extraordinary." —Harper's Bazaar
"Haunting." —New York Newsday
"A poignant tale of courage and hope . . . As much an inspiration as it is a tragedy." —Ms.
"Imagination and history in sublime combination . . . Read this book for the novel it is. Read this book for the place it takes you. Read this book and take courage." —The Denver Post