Black Butterflies
Black Butterflies
Priscilla Morris

Black Butterflies

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The exquisitely crafted debut novel that captures life during the siege of Sarajevo - longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2023.

Sarajevo, spring 1992. Each night, nationalist gangs erect barricades, splitting the diverse city into ethnic enclaves; each morning, the bemused residents - whether Muslim, Croat or Serb - push the makeshift barriers aside.

Zora, an artist and teacher, is focused on her family, her students, her attic studio in the old town.

But when violence finally spills over, she sees that she must send her elderly mother and ageing husband to safety with her daughter in England. Reluctant to leave her work, or to believe that hostilities will last more than a handful of weeks, she stays behind as the city falls under siege. As the siege deepens and everything they loved is laid to waste, black ashes floating over the streets, Zora and her friends are forced to rebuild themselves, over and over.

Inspired by real-life accounts of the longest siege in modern warfare, only thirty years ago, Black Butterflies is a heartrending and utterly captivating portrait of disintegration, resilience and hope.

You can also browse a selection of books that inspired Black Butterflies, selected and introduced by the author, on our profile here.

Softcover, 288 pages, published 20th April 2023.