The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Documenting a Dictatorship in Fiction

Washington, DC


The Mirabal Museum (the sisters' second home) in Salcedo, Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Ariel Laguilles.

Set in the Dominican Republic, In the Time of the Butterflies is a fictionalized account of the Mirabal sisters, three of whom were murdered by henchmen of the ruthless dictator, Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo infamously lorded over the DR for thirty-plus years. The Mirabal sisters were known in the underground by their code name, Las Mariposas or the butterflies. Today, we'll hear an excerpt from the show featuring writers Ana Menendez, Edwidge Danticat, and Junot Diaz; professor and historian, Max Paul Friedman; and the surviving sister, Dede Mirabal, who is interpreted by Minou Mirabal-Tavarez, daughter of the slain sister, Minerva.

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov//audio/ButterflyDictator.mp3]

[transcript]

To listen to the entire 30-minute audio guide, go to The Big Read website. The show also features musician Neko Case, who this past Friday was rocking out with Rocco, the NEA Chairman, at the Black Cat in DC. Literary rock!

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