Shunned as an outsider and mistreated due to an undiagnosed learning disability, the young and imaginative Mari-Jen Delene retreats into silence. Around her, the fictional community of Ste. Noire, Cape Breton, hosts a vividly drawn cast of characters: the uncompromising and bitter Mother Superior; the dangerous Uncle Jule; the kind-hearted holocaust survivor Daniel Peter; and Mari-Jen’s rebellious and powerfully intelligent brothers, who sleep next to a map of the world they yearn to explore. Elegantly written and profoundly touching, Butterflies Dance in the Dark stands as a testament to the vibrant resiliency of youth and the enduring powers of the imagination.
“An eloquent story, profound and lyrical… MacNeil’s characters are imaginative and well realized, while the novel makes an effortless full circle.”
“Beatrice MacNeil’s writing resembles painting, a beautifully textured, wondrously detailed painting, of absorbing incidents and characters so real and fresh that you feel you could turn a corner and bump into them in the midst of a quarrel, a cursing, a prayer, a kiss. MacNeil’s Cape Breton is a seductive, mysterious, pastoral, strange, Gothic, and violent redoubt of illicit lusts and proud blasphemies, magical faith and redemptive love.”