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Butterflies in November

Butterflies in November [Kindle Edition]

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir , Brian FitzGibbon
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


"Thoughtful and fun . . . a novel of surprising tension and tenderness." --"Kirkus Reviews" "A funny and bizarre travelog of Iceland's unique culture and landscape . . . give in to the quirky spirit of the book." --"Library Journal" "Olafsdottir has created a singular heroine in "Butterflies in November" unafraid, unapologetic and also unforgettable. When she enters a lottery, she wins it. When she has sex with the wrong man, she gets back into her car and keeps on driving. I loved her and this quirky, enticing novel that never stopped surprising." --Marcy Dermansky, author of "Twins" and "Bad Marie" "Authentic. The story explores what freedom really means when romantic and familial bonds are pushed aside." --"Publishers Weekly" "A bright and blissful journey into the darkest month in Iceland. Olafsdottir repeatedly smashes our idea of the everyday, only to sew it back together in a magically surprising and beautiful embroidery. A highly original and very charming novel." --Hallgrimur Helgason, author of "The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning" "A funny, moving, and occasionally bizarre exploration of life's upheavals and reversals." --"Financial Times " "[An] evocative, humorous novel. . . . The beguiling imagery captures the fragile and fleeting beauty of those loved and lost, as well as the possibilities of self reinvention; of shedding skins, growing wings." --"Observer" "A whimsical Icelandic journey. . . . There are moving moments of sadness and hilarity . . . and Olafsdottir shows a rare ability to write a serious and convincing small child; the boy's flowering relationship with his clueless foster-carer is beautifully handled." --"Guardian" "[A] super talented writer. . . brilliantly written . . . quirky, fun, adorable and bizarre. You'll savor each page of this book." --"Company" (one of Five Female Authors You Need to Know)

Product Description

A hilarious and moving road trip around Iceland in an old car, told by a recently divorced woman with a five year-old boy 'on loan'

After a day of being dumped - twice - and accidentally killing a goose, the narrator begins to dream of tropical holidays far away from the chaos of her current life. instead, she finds her plans wrecked by her best friend's deaf-mute son, thrust into her reluctant care. But when a shared lottery ticket nets the two of them over 40 million kroner, she and the boy head off on a road trip across iceland, taking in cucumber-farming hotels, dead sheep, and any number of her exes desperate for another chance. Blackly comic and uniquely moving, Butterflies in November is an extraordinary, hilarious tale of motherhood, relationships and the legacy of life's mistakes.

Auður Ava Olafsdóttir was born in Iceland in 1958, studied art history in Paris and has lectured in History of Art at the University of Iceland. Her earlier novel, The Greenhouse (2007), won the DV Culture Award for literature and was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Award. She currently lives and works in Reykjavik.

"Quirky and poetic, everything is there... An extraordinary novelist" Madame Figaro

"A poetic and sensory narrative" El País

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 548 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press (7 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FIP8X60
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,404 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butterflies in November 14 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The narrator of this quirky and unique novel is a thirty three year old woman with a gift for languages, who works as a translator and proof reader. When we meet her she has been both dumped by her lover and told by her husband that he is leaving her for another woman, who is soon to have his child. Her friend, Audor, (my apologies for not being to type Icelandic names with the appropriate letters/typeface) is, like her, something of an outsider. She already has a young son, Tumi, who is hearing and vision impaired, and is pregnant again, but not married. When she comes to visit to console her friend on the end of her marriage, she slips and hurts herself - while she is taken to hospital, she asks her friend to collect Tumi from kindergarten. To add to the recent upheaval, after being told that she should buy lottery tickets, our narrator soon finds that she has won twice - firstly the prize of a prefabricated cottage, which she asks to be placed in the location where her grandmother once lived, and secondly for the astounding amount of forty million kroner. She had already decided to take a trip, but now she must do so with a four year old boy in tow, when she has no experience of children.

Everything I have described so far is also mentioned (pretty much) in the blurb and happens in the first couple of chapters. The novel is concerned with the trip itself - a bizarre road trip through a frozen landscape. On this journey some animals will die, many ex lovers will appear unexpectedly, and our narrator must come to terms with something which happened to her as a young girl, as well as discover what motherhood really means.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting novel. 13 Jun 2014
Butterflies In November is translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon. Butterflies in November is a very interesting read. Although I did need my glasses on as the writing is very small to read in the paperback version.
It has been a tough day. It is not very nice but she has been dumped twice. Then she accidentally killed a goose. And now she is suddenly responsible for her best friend's deaf-mute son.
When a shared lottery ticket turns the oddly matched pair into the richest people in Iceland, I was thinking to myself I wish that was was me winning the lottery and being one the richest people in the country. She and the boy find themselves on a road trip across the country. With cucumber hotels, dead sheep, and any number of her exes on their tail.
Butterflies In November is a comic and uniquely moving tale of motherhood, friendship and the power of words.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and entertaining 21 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fast paced and entertainingly written (hats off to the translater too), this novel echoes what I think is the quirkiness of the Icelandic character. Having spent a lot of time visiting Iceland, the book captures the individuality of the people and country in a fast-paced story of relationships and a journey of escape.

The narrator, a thirty something recent divorcee whose ex-husband still wants to stay in touch goes on a road trip of self-discovery, wanting to get away from it all, and is obliged to take her friend's 4 year-old in tow. The way the story unfolds is lighthearted on the surface but also captures the randomness that life throws at you, especially in Iceland.

An enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A road trip around Iceland 26 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Given my love of Iceland, and all things Icelandic, it seems fitting to start the year off with an Icelandic book. This one had been on my wish list for a while, having read about it in the airline magazine after my most recent trip in October, so when I saw it was reduced to 99p I downloaded a copy straiight away.

The narrator of the book is a thirty three year old woman with a gift for languages. When we meet her at the beginning of the book, she has been recently dumped by both her lover and her husband, who tells her that he is expecting a child with another woman. When her pregnant best friend and already single mother Audur is on the way over to help her commiserate, she slips and falls on the ice, necessitating a stay in hospital. Our heroine is then given the task of caring for Audur's five year old deaf-mute son. Following, not one but two lottery wins - one monetary, one a pefabricated summer bungalow, the two of them set off on a road trip around Iceland's coast to claim the bungalow.

The remainder of the book is about this road trip and the things that the two of them encounter - including yes, a cucumber farm, a dead sheep and several exes. During the journey our heroine learns what motherhood really means and makes some life changing decisions.

This is somewhat of a quicky book that would appeal mostly to other women, due to the motherhood theme and will no doubt have a sizeable audience after the success of her previous work. For me though the book seemed a bit lack lustre and lacked that certain spark. Icelandic is a difficult language to learn, so maybe some of the book was simply lost in translation. It is by no means the best book I have read, but no means the worst either, so I would give this an average rating of 3 stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly quirky
A brilliantly quirky story with a real taste of the country. A breathe of fresh air!
Published 1 month ago by S Humphreys
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd but lovely
A sweet story that flows easily despite how randomly the character's adventures take place. I loved Iceland and this story is a great reflection on how the residents survive in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky book - a good read
Quirky book but a good read which I enjoyed.
Published 3 months ago by DebsMcG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book would definitely recommend
Published 3 months ago by hazel
2.0 out of 5 stars What is the point of this novel?
I don't understand what this novel is trying to do, except be annoying perhaps. Nobody in it talks or behaves like a real person, even allowing for the cultural differences. Read more
Published 4 months ago by AnneLivia
2.0 out of 5 stars I love books about Iceland
Disappointing for me, I love books about Iceland, but this could have been almost anywhere. One of those books that has no beginning or end, just a middle, not my sort of book.
Published 4 months ago by G A Norton
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
Gave up reading this, just couldn't get into it, rather disjointed.
Published 4 months ago by Balibray
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 5 months ago by mr clive melbourne
2.0 out of 5 stars Butterflies in November
I gave up on this book as it did not hold my attention.
The description was more encouraging than the story.
Published 5 months ago by Nanshirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
If you are looking for a fresh and fast read this is it. It's fun and frivolous and will brighten up your week.
Published 7 months ago by Cross Mummy
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