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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, chosen by Ca, Wednesday 7th March, 2013

Escape welcomes our newest member, Ani.  It is lovely to have her on board and we are looking forward to sharing lots of book-talking time together.  Today: 10 members were present.  Not all finished the book but on the whole, it was an interesting meeting.  We had not heard of this book before as it is not publicised too much in this part of the world. There was only one copy in the WA library system, and it was in Spanish! 

Showing the different covers as we all had different editions of this book. 

  • Setting - Dominican Republic (1938 - 1994)
  • Fictionalised account of the Mirabal sisters during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship 
  • The book is narrated by 4 different voices and it alternates from the past to the present. One of the accounts is presented as a diary
  • First published 1994.  Selected to be a part of the Big Read (National Endowment for the Arts - USA) and part of Algonquin Reader's Round Table List.
  • Extraordinary ...... book brings the Mirabals to life.
  • We knew how this book was going to end and we were all dreading the ending, but it was done so beautifully that we had a surprise. 
  • Because of these sisters, November 25 has become the UN designated as Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
  • Our ratings - 5Star - 2,   4Star-2,   3Star-2,  3 did not finish reading,   2 away last month.

Dominican Republic
Click on map for a larger image.

Towns to note:

La Vega ( location of boarding school)
Santo Domingo (La Victoria Prison - Manolo, Leandro, Pedro and the girls here )
Puerto Plata (San Felipe Jail - Manolo and Leandro transferred here)

Ojo De Agua, Salcedo - Town where Mirabals lived (not on this map)
La Cumbre - House on hill where Pena's car spotted (not on this map)

Links to Enhance Reading: (Watch out -Spoilers!)

Book Trailer (YouTube 1:08)

Film Trailer  (YouTube 1:54)

Julia Alvarez - The Big Read Blog  (Photo of Dede and Julia Alvarez)

Julia Alvarez - The Writers Language YouTube (From ACCArts and Humanities - 1:39)

Photos (el-bohio)  (This has interesting photos, including pictures of their homes as described in the book)

(El-bohio Home) for other links on the Mirabals

In your Face Women blog (For a picture of Maria's holy communion dress)

Trujillo's men (photos)  (Pictures of Trujillo's men eg Pic no 3,22,23,24 show Anselmo Paulino Alvarez, the man with one eye, referred to as Magic Eye by Minerva on p109  .... No 7 of Don Manuel also mentioned a few times in the book see p111)

Era of Trujillo - has pictures of Trujilla era and Lina Lovaton  (Photo of Lina Lovaton, the young girl from boarding school that was taken away by Trujillo)

Lina Lovaton   (flicker website)

Rafael Trujillo  (quick facts -

Audio Guide   [29:55]  Big Read website

NEA podcast  Julia Alvarez discusses how her life as a reader led to her life as a writer and the rich source material she finds in her family's immigrant experience. [22.05]   

Pin shows Ojo de Agua, Salcedo where the Mirabals lived.  The girls journeyed on road from Santiago to Puerto Plata prison.  

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