17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Butterflies in November,
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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.