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In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterflies

by Julia Alvarez

I found in literature a place where the table was set for all. Everybody was welcome. I found true democracy in reading.


Julia Alvarez, 2000 (Courtesy of Caleb Kenna)

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez transports us to the Dominican Republic in the mid-twentieth century when the country struggled under the brutal dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. A work of historical fiction, the novel honors the lives of Patria, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal, who became icons of freedom and women’s rights when they were assassinated in the autumn of 1960 for their role in the underground movement against Trujillo’s regime.

The murders of the three women inspired many in the Dominican Republic to denounce the regime publicly and marked the beginning of the end for Trujillo’s reign. In 1999 the United Nations General Assembly designated the date of the Mirabal sisters’ deaths, November 25, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

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