"A joy to read." --The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez’s beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters as they grow up in two cultures. The García sisters--Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía--and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father’s role in an attempt to overthrow brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wondrous but not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways as the girls try find new lives: by straightening their hair and wearing American fashions, and by forgetting their Spanish. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. Here they tell their stories about being at home--and not at home--in America.
"A clear-eyed look at the insecurity and yearning for a sense of belonging that are a part of the immigrant experience . . . Movingly told." —The Washington Post Book World
"Extraordinary . . . The voice of personal and political history as it lives now." —The Bloomsbury Review
"Simply wonderful." —Los Angeles Times
"[A] tender, charming book . . . There is a charge to Alvarez's writing, a poetic intensity, that is truly original." —The Miami Herald
"Poignant . . . Powerful . . . Beautifully captures the threshold experience of the new immigrant, where the past is not yet a memory." —The New York Times Book Review
"Subtle . . Powerful . . . Reveals the intricacies of family, the impact of culture and place, and the profound power of language." —The San Diego Tribune
Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including the 2013 National Medal of Arts, a Latina Leader Award in Literature in 2007 from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the 2000 Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s 1996 program "The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, From John Donne to Julia Alvarez." In 2013, President Obama awarded her a National Medal of Arts. Alvarez has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America, most recently as a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, until her retirement in 2016. For many years, she and her husband, Bill Eichner, ran Finca Fundación Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm-literacy arts center they established in her Dominican homeland. She is a co-founder and convener of Border of Lights, a collective of activists committed to promoting peace and solidarity between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In 2009, In the Time of the Butterflies was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program.