Table of Contents
“ONE OF THE NOTABLE BOOKS OF THE YEAR ... SIMPLY, CLEARLY, BEAUTIFULLY TOLD.... THE WRITING IS MAGIC.”
—San Antonio Express-News
“A wondrous work, both grand and intimate ... breathtaking ... magical ... certain to find its place in the classics of contemporary literature.”
Jackson Clarion Ledger
“An extraordinary tour de force that brings the sisters Mirabal to vibrant life.... This is a story that needed to be told, and Julia Alvarez is the one to tell it. No one who reads it will be able to forget the butterflies who dared to challenge the beast.”
—Vermont Valley News
“Doubly blessed with a poet’s vision and a realist’s eye, Julia Alvarez gives us ... lessons about the courage and vitality of the female spirit, the webs and tangles that bind families, piety and activism, loyalty and fear, faith and love.”
a cognizant original v5 release october 14 2010
JULIA ALVAREZ was raised in the Dominican Republic and emigrated with her family to the United States in 1960. Her novels include
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents; In the Time of the Butterflies,
which was nominated for the 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award;
In the Name of Salomé.
She is the author of two collections of poetry,
Homecoming and The Other Side/El Otro Lado,
and a book of essays,
Something to Declare.
Ms. Alvarez lives in Middlebury, Vermont.
“BUILDS TO A GRIPPING INTENSITY.... ALVAREZ CONVEYS THEIR COURAGE AND THEIR DESPERATION, AND THE FULL IMPORT OF THEIR TRAGEDY.”
“A smashing follow-up toHow the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents ...
speaking across the years as convincingly as Anne Frank did in her diary.”
“I was moved to tears, not of sadness but of joy. The sisters Mirabal continue to live as long as women like Julia Alvarez are brave enough to tell their story.... A novel of greatcariño.”
—Sandra Cisneros, author of
The House on Mango Street
“Haunting ... full of pathos and passion with beautifully crafted anecdotes interstitched to create a patchwork quilt of memory and ideology.... Her novel is a wonderful examination of how it feels to be a survivor, how it feels to come from a society where justice and freedom are unwelcome.”
“A POIGNANT TALE OF COURAGE AND HOPE—AS MUCH AN INSPIRATION AS IT IS A TRAGEDY.”
“Compelling, vivid.... Its evocation of everyday life in a military dictatorship, with its informers and paranoia, ranges from the comical to the chilling.”
“Vivid, beautifully done ... a compelling testimony to the Dominican Republic’s tragic history.”
“I put my life on hold to finish this work by the author ofHow the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.
Every page was worth it. Read it if you can.”
—San Antonio Current
“It is destined to take its place on the shelf of great Latin-American novels.”
—Rudolfo Anaya, author of
Bless Me, Ultima
Also by Julia Alvarez
In the Name of Salome
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
The Other Side/El Otro Lado
Something to Declare
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books USA Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England
First Plume Printing, August, 1995
Copyright © 1994 by Julia Alvarez
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
In the time of the butterflies / Julia Alvarez.
eISBN : 978-1-101-07699-6
1. Mirabal, Maria Teresa, 1935-1960—Fiction. 2. Mirabal,
Minerva, 1926-1960—Fiction. 3. Mirabal, Patria, 1924-1960—
Fiction. 4. Dominican Republic—History—1930-1961—Fiction.
5. Women revolutionaries—Dominican Republic—Fiction. I. Title.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system,
or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission
of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE AT QUANTITY DISCOUNTS WHEN USED TO PROMOTE PRODUCTS
OR SERVICES. FOR INFORMATION PLEASE WRITE TO PREMIUM MARKETING DIVISION,
PENGUIN BOOKS USA INC., 375 HUDSON STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10014.
This work of fiction is based on historical facts
referred to in the author’s Postscript on pages 323-324.
PATRIA MERCEDES MIRABAL
February 27, 1924-November 25, 1960
March 12, 1926-November 25,1960
MARIA TERESA MIRABAL
October 15, 1935-November 25, 1960
RUFINO DE LA CRUZ
November 10, 1923-November 25, 1960
1938 to 1946
She is plucking her bird of paradise of its dead branches, leaning around the plant every time she hears a car. The woman will never find the old house behind the hedge of towering hibiscus at the bend of the dirt road. Not a
in a rented car with a road map asking for street names! Dedé had taken the call over at the little museum this morning.
Could the woman please come over and talk to Dedé about the Mirabal sisters? She is originally from here but has lived many years in the States, for which she is sorry since her Spanish is not so good. The Mirabal sisters are not known there, for which she is also sorry for it is a crime that they should be forgotten, these unsung heroines of the underground, et cetera.
Oh dear, another one. Now after thirty-four years, the commemora tions and interviews and presentations of posthumous honors have almost stopped, so that for months at a time Dedé is able to take up her own life again. But she’s long since resigned herself to Novembers. Every year as the 25th rolls around, the television crews drive up. There’s the obligatory interview. Then, the big celebration over at the museum, the delegations from as far away as Peru and Paraguay, an ordeal really, making that many little party sandwiches and the nephews and nieces not always showing up in time to help. But this is March,
Doesn’t she have seven more months of anonymity?
“How about this afternoon? I do have a later commitment,” Dedé lies to the voice. She has to. Otherwise, they go on and on, asking the most impertinent questions.
There is a veritable racket of gratitude on the other end, and Dedé has to smile at some of the imported nonsense of this woman’s Spanish. “I am so compromised,” she is saying, “by the openness of your warm manner.”
“So if I’m coming from Santiago, I drive on past Salcedo?” the woman asks.
And then where you see a great big anacahuita tree, you turn left.”
“A ... great... big ... tree ...,” the woman repeats. She is writing all this down! “I turn left. What’s the name of the street?”
“It’s just the road by the anacahuita tree. We don’t name them,” Dedé says, driven to doodling to contain her impatience. On the back of an envelope left beside the museum phone, she has sketched an enormous tree, laden with flowers, the branches squirreling over the flap. “You see, most of the
around here can’t read, so it wouldn’t do us any good to put names on the roads.”
The voice laughs, embarrassed. “Of course. You must think I’m so outside of things.”
Tan afuera de la cosa.
Dede bites her lip. “Not at all,” she lies. “I’ll see you this afternoon then.”
“About what time?” the voice wants to know.
Oh yes. The gringos need a time. But there isn’t a clock time for this kind of just-right moment. “Any time after three or three-thirty, four-ish.”
“Dominican time, eh?” The woman laughs.
Finally, the woman is getting the hang of how things are done here. Even after she has laid the receiver in its cradle, Dedé goes on elaborating the root system of her anacahuita tree, shading the branches, and then for the fun of it, opening and closing the flap of the envelope to watch the tree come apart and then back together again.