En el tiempo de las mariposas (In The Time of the Butterflies)

( 12 )

Overview

On a deserted mountain road in the Dominican Republic in 1960, three young women from a pious Catholic family were assassinated after visiting their husbands who had been jailed as suspected rebel leaders. The Mirabal sisters, thus martyred, became mythical figures in their country, where they are known as Las Mariposas (the butterflies). Three decades later, Julia Alvarez, daughter of the Dominican Republic and author of the acclaimed How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, brings the Mirabal sisters back to ...
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Overview

On a deserted mountain road in the Dominican Republic in 1960, three young women from a pious Catholic family were assassinated after visiting their husbands who had been jailed as suspected rebel leaders. The Mirabal sisters, thus martyred, became mythical figures in their country, where they are known as Las Mariposas (the butterflies). Three decades later, Julia Alvarez, daughter of the Dominican Republic and author of the acclaimed How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, brings the Mirabal sisters back to life in this extraordinary novel. Each of the sisters speaks in her own voice, beginning as young girls in the 1940s, their stories vary from hair ribbons to gun-running to prison torture. Their story is framed by their surviving sister who tells her own tale of suffering and dedication to the memory of Las Mariposas. This inspired portrait of four women is a haunting statement about the human cost of political oppression, and is destined to take its place alongside García Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and Allende's The House of the Spirits as one of the great 20th-century Latin American novels.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452286863
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/25/2005
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 122,916
  • Product dimensions: 5.09 (w) x 7.83 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia  Alvarez

Julia Alvarez is the author of the novels How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies (a national Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and Yo!. She has also published two poetry collections (Homecoming and The Other side/El Otro Lado) and a collection of essays (Something to Declare).

Biography

Julia Alvarez was born in New York City during her Dominican parents' "first and failed" stay in the United States. While she was still an infant, the family returned to the Dominican Republic -- where her father, a vehement opponent of the Trujillo dictatorship, resumed his activities with the resistance. In 1960, in fear for their safety, the Alvarezes fled the country, settling once more in New York.

Alvarez has often said that the immigrant experience was the crucible that turned her into a writer. Her struggle with the nuances of the English language made her deeply conscious of the power of words, and exposure to books and reading sharpened both her imagination and her storytelling skills. She graduated summa cum laude from Middlebury College in 1971, received her M.F.A. from Syracuse University, and spent the next two decades in the education field, traveling around the country with the poetry-in-the-schools program and teaching English and Creative Writing to elementary, high school, and college students.

Alvarez's verse began to appear in literary magazines and anthologies, and in 1984, she published her first poetry collection, Homecoming. She had less success marketing her novel -- a semiautobiographical story that traced the painful assimilation of a Dominican family over a period of more than 30 eventful years. A series of 15 interconnected stories that unfold in reverse chronological order, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents addresses, head-on, the obstacles and challenges immigrants face in adapting to life in a new country.

It took some time for "ethnic" literature to gain enough of a foothold in the literary establishment for Alvarez's agent, a tireless champion of minority authors, to find a publisher. But when the novel was released in 1991, it received strongly positive reviews. And so, at the tender age of 41, Alvarez became a star. Three years later, she proved herself more than a "one-hit wonder," when her second novel, In the Time of Butterflies was nominated for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award. Since then, she has made her name as a writer of remarkable versatility, juggling novels, poetry, children's books, and nonfiction with equal grace and aplomb. She lives in Vermont, where she serves as a writer in residence at her alma mater, Middlebury College. In addition, she and her husband run a coffee farm in the Dominican Republic that hosts a school to teach the local farmers and their families how to read and write.

Good To Know

From 1975 until 1978, Alvarez served as Poet-in-the-Schools in Kentucky, Delaware, and North Carolina.

She has held positions as a professor of creative writing and English at Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts (1979-81), the University of Vermont (1981-83), and the University of Illinois (1985-88).

In 1984, Alvarez was the Jenny McKean Moore Visiting Writer at George Washington University. Currently, she is a professor of English at Middlebury College.

She and her husband run a coffee farm, Alta Gracia, in the Dominican Republic.

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    1. Hometown:
      Middlebury, Vermont
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 27, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Middlebury College, 1971; M.F.A., Syracuse University, 1975

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2003

    Excellent/Magnificient

    I Must say this book made me realize so much about my culture in the word of woman's political career I should pay atention yo my neighbor which was Dona Dede Mirabal yes believe or not i was a Little girl and didn't pay no mind that was in Santiago City In the Dominican Republic.she used to live at the end of the street,beautiful house and garden and now i realize how important was for my mom and my neighbors to alwasy give the hellos to that family.I must say I am very Proud now that I am 34 years old,dominican that Julia Alvarea printed out the real story and made appreciated the proud to be Dominican.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    Excellent - A Must Read

    this is a excellent piece of literature which recalls the exquisite history of three courageous women who risked their lives in the name of their country and the dictatorship of a corrupt government. In the time of the butterflies, you almost can dive in to the period and experience the hardships each of the sisters suffered. Each of their agony, happiness, sorrows and sacrifices. The time of the Butterflies makes me proud to be a Dominican and truly admire the sacrifices these women took in order to live in a democratic and free country.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    A page-turner!

    This is a wonderful book, full of action,romance, drama...and although there was a film made starring Salma Hayek, I advice people to read the book first. You will not be able to put it down.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    A MUST READ!!!

    My review is short! Its a good book. It got me hooked up. I'm not sure if I missed it or what but, what happened to the other sisters? The ones that the father of Las Mariposas had with another lady.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An amazing historical fiction account of life under the Era of the most ruthless dictator the Dominican Republic has ever lived under

    I am a new Spanish teacher. When I was given the task of teaching Spanish to Native Speakers I knew that it was going to be a challenge convincing them that they really didn't know it all. My way of getting through to them was through literature. Since most of them were Dominican-American, like myself, I knew that they would be shocked to read about this grim time in Dominican history. Before I tell you the specifics about the book, I must tell you how it impacted my students. After reading the book and doing countless activities and writing about it, the number one comment was "I can't believe I never knew about this" and "I wish my grandma was alive to ask her about this."

    As stated in the intro. the historical backdrop of the story is the the reign of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, a dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. During his reign of terror, people were imprisioned, tortured and killed. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press were blatantly disregarded.

    The book is engaging because it relays this information through four voices; the voices of the four Mirabal sisters. These heroines were a part of an underground movement to overthrow Trujillo. What makes the story so touching, heartfelt, enthralling, gripping and heroic is that Alvarez walks us through their lives, from childhood to adulthood, and by having a couple of chapters of the book being told by one sister. Each chapter is different from the next but all interrelated. Alvarez does an excellent job of giving each sister their own voice & viewpoint.

    Alvarez also has wonderful literary elements sprinkled throughout "In the Time of the Butterflies." For example, she shows symbolism by describing how Minerva, the most strong willed sister, tried to free a rabbit when she was younger. She also has various instances where foreshadowing can be pinpointed. Lastly, the poetic-ness of Alvarez's prose is noteworthy as well. One particular scene is when one of the sisters is describing what it felt like to be tortured she says "senti que se me desprendia el espiritu y flotaba sobre mi cuerpo contemplando la esena que occuria abajo" (I felt my spirit unhinge itself from my body and float over my body contemplating the scene that occurred below). (book available in English too).

    This book is so rich in content and literature that it was easy teaching this book. One activity the students really enjoyed was "family reunion" in which I handed out the names of the roughly 17 family members and told each of them to find their nuclear family. They had 1 min. to find each other & then held up their name. Then they had to get into character and answer questions about who they are, their "siblings" and "parents." We also saw the movie which was okay but as the students put it, "it was too short." The movie is good in the sense that it sets the tone for the historical time frame; from 1930s to early 60s. Oh, and another great idea is to listen to book on audiobook. It comes in tape and CD, which I cked. out from the library.

    To conclude, my idea to read this book with the class came from my own experience with the book when I read it in 2001 in my h.s. English class; that is the depth to which this book impacted me. My students were in love with the book too.

    This book is a testament of courage; not that of mythical heroes impossible for us to atta

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    Intriguing

    Julia Aleverez had me hooked. En el tiempo de las Mariposas was a graceful, powerful, gripping account of womanhood in what could be almost any South American country at one point or another. It opened my eyes to the atrocities that we may be overlooking presently. Books have a way of getting personal with history and current events, the become our bridge between reality and thought. They allow me to observe and form opinions. I have a few pages left in Julia Alverez' novel, and I must pick just the right time to end. The legend, however, will forever live on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2005

    This was one of the best book I heve read

    When I read this book I learn so mcuh. I knew that when I was to go to Dominican Republic I was going to do some more research on the Mariposas. If you enjoy learning about the Mariposas you should read Tres Heroninas y un Tirano it gives you an even better picture of what happen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2003

    incredible!

    This book is super great. It's way more than outstanding, and I think it will be Alvarez's best. The girls give motivation to the people learning about their life and courage. They risked their lives till it was taken away, but even though they left their children motherless, they gave them something that it is difficult for any mother to give and it something that is not free....Freedom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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