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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butterflies in November
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...
Published 9 months ago by S Riaz

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A road trip around Iceland
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...
Published 6 months ago by Miss J. M. Austin


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butterflies in November, 14 Nov 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Butterflies in November (Kindle Edition)
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. Unprepared for what lies ahead, her dashboard stuffed with cash, she finds herself responsible for another person - a vulnerable and intelligent child - for the first time in her life. This trip will change her profoundly and alter the course of her life forever.

This is a difficult novel to describe. It is quirky, often funny, sometimes a little shocking and profoundly moving. I have not read anything by this author before, but I am sure that this just made it into my list of favourite books. Set in an amost alien landcape, it is completely different in attitude and approach, and will challenge the way you think. I am extremely glad that I read it and Pushkin Press are becoming, more and more, a publisher that I trust for quality and original books.
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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
By 
Miss J. M. Austin (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Butterflies in November (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worn theme, 9 Mar 2014
By 
M. D. Holley (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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I struggled with this, even though it is a short novel. It was quite an effort to finish.

On the positive side, the style is very quirky and extremely humorous. The setting, in Iceland, is impressive.

It starts off very well indeed. But then I found myself losing interest. The theme is the well worn one of the main character going on a journey to rediscover herself/himself. The problem is, that apart from the unusual style, there is not much here that I have not read many, many times before. I was hoping for some unusual twist to justify yet another novel on this particular theme, but no twist came.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and Off-Beat, 14 Nov 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
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'Butterflies in November' is an unusual and very engaging story, first-person narrated by an unnamed linguist, in her early thirties, who has been discarded by both her husband and her lover in the same day. Newly single (although her ex-husband seems to find plenty of excuses to keep calling in regularly) our heroine, after some very good fortune, decides to leave her old life behind and take a road trip around her native home of Iceland. Just before she leaves, however, her best friend, Aušur, has a nasty fall and is unable to take care of her four-year-old disabled son, Tumi. Before she knows it, our heroine has agreed to take Tumi with her on her trip, and deciding she will take: " a picnic, two bottles of water, some books, two favourite fluffy animals, optimism, an enthusiasm for travel...and a glove compartment stuffed with thousand-kronur banknotes" she sets off with her young charge in tow, having no previous experience of being responsible for a young child. During the trip, as our heroine begins to bond with Tumi, a variety of things happen along the way, and whilst we are reading about these and the people she meets, the reader also gradually learns about an incident from our narrator's past, which helps us to understand a little of why she seems to have drifted through part of her life in a rather detached and passive way. At the end of the trip, after some rather unusual experiences, our narrator ends her journey of self discovery with a rather different view on life.

Perceptively observed, darkly humorous and rather idiosyncratic, I found this a strangely compelling read and when I arrived at the end of the book I was surprised to find forty seven rather unusual cooking recipes (which the author admits may work better on the page than the plate) and one knitting pattern, which would be very useful should you feel the need to pick up some knitting needles after finishing the story. As I was reading this novel I kept thinking how it would make a very quirky film and I have just learnt that the film rights have already been sold - I do hope the film version is as engaging and off-beat as the book.

4 Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and amusing., 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Butterflies in November (Kindle Edition)
Bought this to read whilst on a trip to Iceland to help get a sense of the culture/humour of the country. Found the central characters and the situation engaging and amusing. Was glad it wasn't bleak or depressing. There was a sort of black humour and delightful eccentricity!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and entertaining, 21 July 2014
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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 Butterflies in November, 11 Jan 2014
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Unusual and interesting but definitely disappointed when I arrived at the end, unexpectedly, and found
pages of recipes. Too bizarre for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Butterflies in November, 7 July 2014
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I gave up on this book as it did not hold my attention.
The description was more encouraging than the story.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 15 May 2014
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If you are looking for a fresh and fast read this is it. It's fun and frivolous and will brighten up your week.
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