For readers of Michael Ondaatje and Chris Cleave, this multigenerational literary novel features the intertwined stories of three women who transcend three tragedies of the twentieth century with the aid of the greatest love poet of all time: Pablo Neruda.
London, England, September 1940. Thirteen-year-old Susan McEwan and her older brother, Phillip―himself a pilot―witness firsthand the initial Nazi bombing of civilian London. Weeks later, Phillip’s Sunderland bomber is shot down, and his family is wordlessly devastated.
Toronto, Canada, the early 1980s. As a young couple struggles to survive the Reagan recession, the husband, Alexander Polo, is forced to take a job as a paperboy. When the wife, Julie, is expectant, Polo must now confront his future head-on and heart open.
Montana, the first days of September 2001. In the midst of his wedding and 9/11, Jack Riordan discovers a magazine story written by Polo about Susan and airplanes and her love of the poems of Pablo Neruda.
With humor and insight, Colin Hester explores how Susan, Polo, and Jack carry on―grieving the death of a child or the end of a marriage―in deeply felt and beautifully imagined prose. Hester’s intricate and sweeping multigenerational novel, Death and the Butterfly, follows a cast of interconnected characters through life’s endless heartbreak and enduring love.