Butterflies In November by Audur Ava Olafsdottir

Butterflies in November B-FINAL.indd

Disarmingly cheerful, witty and bittersweet, this is the story of a woman who finds herself suddenly single, responsible for a deaf child and the winner of a huge lottery. She decides that a road trip to rethink her life is in order.

It’s an odd book. Characters they meet on the road often give little expositional sentences that the narrator does not respond to directly. The book includes a large number of tongue in cheek recipes at the end. And the book is seemingly about nothing. The woman narrating has been dumped by her husband, but she has been cheating on him anyway, so it feels more inevitable than shocking. She thinks back through out the novel in little flash backs, but they reveal thoughts and feelings rather than great insights.

In this way, the novel is quite dreamy. There are no great big personal changes, but rather little odd adventures and happenings, thoughts on the landscape and on the nature of life and being responsible for another little person. It feels odd that her best friend would just ask her to care for her four year old child for months on end, while she gives birth to twins. How would a child feel about suddenly being left with a stranger? Well, it’s not that kind of book. It’s more about how life can throw you curve balls, and be beautiful and strange.

I did find it interesting, though I felt it dragged in the middle. I like a lot of the description of the country, the people she meets, the landscape, and her figuring herself out. But I also had a feeling the whole time like I didn’t really get it. I’m not sure why I was meant to care about this person or what the whole thing was really about. But it did make me laugh now and then, and is certainly worth a look

 Read It If: You’ve ever found your life suddenly and irrevocably changed.

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