About The Sound Of Butterflies
“The story of traumatised lepidopterist Thomas Edgar had such a quiet and unsettling power that I found myself dreaming of the Amazon for weeks after finishing the book.” Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries.
In 1904, the young lepidopterist Thomas Edgar arrives home from a collecting expedition in the Amazon. His wife Sophie is unprepared for his emaciated state, and even worse, his inability – or unwillingness – to speak.
Sophie’s genteel and demure life in Edwardian England contrasts starkly with the decadence of Brazil’s rubber boom, as the story of Thomas’s journey through the Amazon, and his search for a mythical butterfly, unfolds. Up the river, via the opulent city of Manaus – where the inhabitants feed their horses champagne and aspire to all things European – Thomas encounters beauty, brutality, corruption, and the limits of his own mental and moral strength.
Back home, unable to break through Thomas’s silence, Sophie is forced to take increasingly drastic measures to discover what has happened. But as she scavenges what she can from Thomas’s diaries and boxes of exquisite butterflies, it’s unclear whether or not their marriage will be able to survive what he has been keeping from her.
The Sound of Butterflies is Rachael King’s first novel. It has been translated into eight languages other than English. It was published in New Zealand by Random House in July 2006, in the UK by Picador in March 2007, and in North America by William Morrow in October 2007.