Book Review: Black Butterflies

Priscilla Morris ~ Black Butterflies


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

When violence finally spills over, Zora, an artist and teacher, sends her husband and elderly mother to safety with her daughter in England. Reluctant to believe that hostilities will last more than a handful of weeks, she stays behind while the city falls under siege. As the assault deepens and everything they love is laid to waste, black ashes floating over the rooftops, Zora and her friends are forced to rebuild themselves, over and over. Theirs is a breath-taking story of disintegration, resilience and hope.


How does one even begin to put this book into words?

From the start Morris envelopes you in the vibrant, cultural city of Sarajevo, describing it so vividly that the library, studio and bridges are all perfectly clear. She shares Zora’s love and pride in her hometown and we too feel like it really is the most wonderful place in the world.

So when the troubles start, our own shock and dismay drives us forward. Of course it’s just a minor conflict, there’s no need to leave.

Throughout the book, we are so connected that we see the city change, we feel Zora’s emotions and we live her existence.

This is true storytelling.

Morris is one of the most beautiful writers I’ve read, carefully balancing her descriptive prose with facts and raw emotion, to ensure the book’s language reflects the situation.

It’s an appalling story. Yet it is also one of hope. The real message of Black Butterflies is all about survival, determination and friendship.

Heartfelt, raw and beautiful, I urge you to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks to Duckworth Books and Insta Book Tours for my proof copy. Opinions my own.

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