Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Good readable copy. Worn edges and covers and may have small creases. The cover may have wear and if there is a dustjacket, it may have normal wear. There may be light writing or highlighting. All pages are present and item is in good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

In the Time of the Butterflies Paperback – August 1, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 440 customer reviews

See all 20 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, August 1, 1995
$1.89 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

During the last days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, three young women, members of a conservative, pious Catholic family, who had become committed to the revolutionary overthrow of the regime, were ambushed and assassinated as they drove back from visiting their jailed husbands. Thus martyred, the Mirabal sisters have become mythical figures in their country, where they are known as las mariposas (the butterflies), from their underground code names. Herself a native of the Dominican Republic, Alvarez ( How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents ) has fictionalized their story in a narrative that starts slowly but builds to a gripping intensity. Each of the girls--Patria, Minerva and Maria Terese (Mate) Mirabal--speaks in her own voice, beginning in their girlhood in the 1940s; their surviving sister, Dede, frames the narrative with her own tale of suffering and dedication to their memory. To differentiate their personalities and the ways they came to acquire revolutionary fervor, Alvarez takes the risk of describing their early lives in leisurely detail, somewhat slowing the narrative momentum. In particular, the giddy, childish diary entries of Mate, the youngest, may seem irritatingly mundane at first, but in time Mate's heroism becomes the most moving of all, as the sisters endure the arrests of their husbands, their own imprisonment and the inexorable progress of Trujillo's revenge. Alvarez captures the terrorized atmosphere of a police state, in which people live under the sword of terrible fear and atrocities cannot be acknowledged. As the sisters' energetic fervor turns to anguish, Alvarez conveys their courage and their desperation, and the full import of their tragedy. 40,000 first printing; $40,000 ad/promo; reprint rights to NAL; 20-city author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452274427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452274426
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (440 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julia Alvarez has bridged the Americas many times. Born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic, she is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist, author of world-renowned books in each of the genres, including How the García Girls Lost their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, and Something to Declare. She lives on a farmstead outside Middlebury, Vermont, with her husband Bill Eichner. Visit Julia's Web site here to find out more about her writing.

Julia and Bill own an organic coffee farm called Alta Gracia in her native country of the Dominican Republic. Their specialty coffee is grown high in the mountains on what was once depleted pastureland. Not only do they grow coffee at Alta Gracia, but they also work to bring social, environmental, spiritual, and political change for the families who work on their farm. They use the traditional methods of shad-grown coffee farming in order to protect the environment, they pay their farmers a fair and living wage, and they have a school on their farm where children and adults learn to read and write. For more information about Alta Gracia, visit their website.

Belkis Ramírez, who created the woodcuts for A Cafecito Story, is one of the most celebrated artists in the Dominican Republic.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a Dominican who lived under Trujillo's dictatorship until his ovethrowing in 1961, I was very taken by Ms. Alvarez' book. Her portrayal of Dominican family life is accurate and lifelike. I remember the trial for the murder of the Mirabal sisters--it was the first televised trial in the history of the D.R. I am also a niece by marriage of General Federico Fiallo who is portrayed in the book, and although as an adult I know he committed heinous crimes under Trujillo's orders, I also want to say that in his private life he was a kind man to his nieces and nephews. He committed suicide when they came to arrest him at his home. All around me when I was a child was the specter of Trujillo and his spies and enforcers. The terror we citizens endured was quite real although we managed to live normal everyday lives. His hand was everywhere. Ms. Alvarez book put into perspective many things that from the point of view of a child you see but fail to digest.
1 Comment 104 of 107 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
By means of the sharpened scalpel of fiction, Julia Alvarez carves and shapes the central characters in this difficult and delicate novel as subversive agents who see themselves obligated by fate to participate in the ultimate demise of an oppressive regime. Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and Dedé, each one in her distinct fashion, break through the tyrannical grip that holds sway over an entire island population for thirty-one nightmarish years. Alvarez is at her absolute best here, far surpassing the previously successful HOW THE GARCÍA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS. Even the more recent SALOMÉ, in my view, doesn't come across as powerfully (especially for those readers unfamiliar with Dominican cultural history). IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES is a masterful work that illustrates the perniciousness of political oppression in every aspect of a society, written in a language of turbulent calmness. As a Dominican myself who experienced first hand the unspeakable horrors of the Trujillo Dictatorship, I admit honestly that Alvarez has presented brilliantly the case of repression and heroism more formidably than any other writer. She has officially immortalized las hermanas Mirabal as national heroines.
Comment 136 of 144 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Julia Alvarez does a brilliant job blending fact and fiction. The story of the Mirabal sisters is brought to life by Alvarez's extraordinary style of writing. I just can't find the right words to describe this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat, unable to put it down, wanting to read more and more. At times it is humorous and delightful, at others sad and horrific.
It is written from the perspective of each sister: the pious and religious Patria (the oldest), the strong and fiesty Minerva (I love her best), the sensitive yet willful Maria Theresa, and Dede - the one who lived. The one who realized her strength and independence despite her doubts. Even though it is Dede who was not killed in the ambush on "the lonely mountain road," it is really all four women who are survivors; Patria, Mate, and Minerva lost their lives, yet their spirits and their courage live on. Through Dede they live on. Perhaps that is why she was not killed - to live to tell her sisters' stories as well as her own. Dede has always wondered why she escaped death, why she wasn't killed; interviewers always ask her that, yet she does not know why. But I believe that is the reason: she could tell their story.
It is interesting how different and diverse the four sisters' personalities are, yet I see a bit of each one in every woman. Patria, the hopeful; Minerva, the feminist; Maria Theresa, the giver; and Dede, the unsure yet strong.
What's more I learned of the dictator Trujillo and what was like to have lived under his regime. I never knew about him, never even heard of him until I read this book. This made me want to read and learn more not only about the Mirabal sisters, but about Trujillo ("El Jefe").
Read more ›
Comment 58 of 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Based on actual events, "In the Time of the Butterflies," is a tragic look at the four Mirabal sisters and their struggle to bring an end to the tyrannical regime of the Dominican Republic's most notorious dictator, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Known for his ruthlessness and his ability to make his political enemies disappear without a trace, Trujillo's regime was one of the most brutal in Latin American history.
After taking over the country with the assistance of the military, Trujillo began a campaign of making himself somewhat of a demigod, even renaming the nation's capital from Santo Domingo to Ciudad Trujillo ("Trujillo City"). During this time, four sisters unified the Dominican resistance in trying to bring freedom and justice to that nation. While their husbands suffered in the nation's worst prison, the Mirabal sisters face uncertain perils and repression from Trujillo's henchmen.
While the author doesn't really discuss the main reason for Trujillo's infatuation with one of the sisters, their story is one of the most memorable cases of human rights abuses on record. Trujillo, son of biracial parents, never was accepted into traditional Dominican society due to his skin color. In a country where race plays a very important role in your social standing, this was a slap to the face, and after meeting one of the Mirabal sisters before his ascent to power, and getting rejected by her, it seems like the main motives for their murders was primarily for vengeance.
Told from the point of view of the only sister to survive the accident that claimed the lives of the other three, Dede's view is somewhat blurry to an extent. Seeing that some of the novel has fictional dialogue, it is understandable why the novel moves in a slow, yet respectful approach.
Read more ›
Comment 25 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse