ISBN 0 9524897 2 4
The Butterfly House
Valerie Grosvenor Myer
Jilly Drybrook, a widow in her forties, goes to China to teach English after becoming redundant. She is not sorry to leave Thatcher's Britain. Among her Chinese students are the disillusioned Mei Ling, preoccupied with nihilism and suicide, and beautiful, arrogant Xiao Xu, who despises her class-mates as peasants.
Jilly's colleagues include Ben, an Italian Australian, formerly a priest, who falls in love with a Chinese girl; Gloria, a cynical divorcee; and Fox, a mysterious loner, with whom Jilly falls in love. It is 1989 and Jilly gets caught up in the euphoria of the democracy movement crushed on June 4 in TienAnMen Square.
Valerie Grosvenor Myer has spent two years in China, but this is a work of fiction.
Valerie Grosvenor Myer's Culture shock was reviewed by Isabel Quigly in the Financial Times as 'a first novel and a talented one ... full of glitzy stylistic promise'. The Butterfly House is her second.
'...a fascinating novel, and wonderfully realised ... a suberb job ... I learned so much about the society, the turmoil, the whole uncertainty of living there ... Jilly is a perfect observer, even down to the smells, the quirks, the strangeness...' - Julia Barrett, USA
'I liked ... all the detail ... A lovely book.' - Nina Bawden
'By the end I could taste and smell China.' - Jackie Cunningham
'Ironies abound.' - Jean Gooder
'Well-constructed and empathetic.' - Alan Kersey, Cambridge Evening News
'The novel gallops. The style works.' - Joe Bennett, New Zealand Columnist of the Year
'A novel of ideas.' - Susanna Roxman, Sweden
'... literary skill and observation.' - Professor Donald Leslie, Australia
'... gripping, compelling, and beautifully written.' - Bill Kirkman, The Cambridge Society
'... excellent dialogue ... riveting.' - Professor John Honey, Botswana.