The Butterfly Month
(De vlindermaand)
Ariëlla Kornmehl, 2005
118 pages, 55.000 words
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Review by Marcel Möring
Sample translation
French sample
For full English manuscript, contact molegraaf@cossee.com
The Butterly Month |
De vlindermaand

Ariëlla Kornmehl

‘I let myself drop into the grass until I was lying down and stretched out. It looked as if there were leaves on the trees, but they kept spinning in the air. Some of them drifted upwards, but there was no wind. They also didn’t look the right color for leaves, more of a creamish color. Then I noticed that not a single tree was bare, each one stood in full bloom… with butterflies. With squinting eyes I peered up at Zanele who was standing in the grass, outlined by the full glare of the sun.
“It’s all butterflies!”
She nodded. “It’s butterfly month” she said with a smile.’

Newly-qualified doctor, Joni, moves to South Africa to escape her family, her past, her failed relationship. The African landscape is beautiful, but in time she will discover what it can hide. Her Zulu housekeeper, Zanele who has moved in with her along with her two children, becomes her intimate confidante but as their friendship develops troubling events cause deep difficulties between them and Joni’s relationship with her housekeeper’s teenage son becomes complicated by sexual attraction. Her provincial hospital is over-run with AIDS cases or shootings and the blinding sun can’t hide the dark heart of Africa in its glare. And neither will Joni’s emotional past desert her.

A beautifully written novel with a devastating climax that captures the fierce nature of South Africa today.

Actes Sud (France)
Le mois des papillons

Une jeune Néerlandaise vient travailler en Afrique du Sud en tant que médecin. Installée seule dans une grande maison, elle embauche Zanele, une femme zoulou qui se présente spontanément pour entretenir la maison et préparer les repas. Très seule dans ce pays comme dans sa vie affective, Joni se prend d'amitié pour Zanele et ses deux enfants, mais la violence de ce pays n'autorise pas les sentiments.

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Altin Bilek (Turkey)
Kelebek Ayi

"Kornmehl, Johannesburg'daki yaşamın acımasız gerçekliğini alıyor ve bize dostluğun acı dolu ama inançlı bir tablosunu çiziyor." - Claire Scobie (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Kornmehl, yalnızlık, eşitsizlik ve kader konusunda çizdiği portrelerle, yaşamı algılamak ve anlatmak konusunda ne kadar usta olduğunu kanıtlıyor. Yaşamın getirdiği zorluklar ve karşılığında gösterdiğimiz çaresizlik için ne kadar işlevsel önerilerde bulunabildiğini görmek şaşırtıyor." - Martin Durgell –Astania Post Magazine

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Bloomsbury Berlin (Germany)
Der Schmetterlingsmonat

Was für eine herrliche Natur, vor allem im Schmetterlingsmonat November, und was für ein herrliches Land! Unmittelbar nach Abschluss ihres Medizinstudiums ist Joni aus den Niederlanden nach Südafrika aufgebrochen, um dort als Ärztin zu arbeiten und zugleich ihren Problemen daheim zu entfliehen — weg von ihrer Familie, weg von ihrem Freund. Die afrikanische Provinz in all ihrer geheimnisvollen Schönheit zieht sie in ihren Bann. Und allmählich wird ihre Haushälterin Zanele, eine Zulu, für sie so etwas wie eine große Schwester. Mit ihr im Hintergrund beginnt Joni, das Leben erneut zu genießen. Bis Zanele ein schreckliches Unglück widerfährt ...

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Hakibbutz Haemeuchad (Israel)

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Scribe (Australia)
The Butterfly Month

Betrayed by her parents, her lover, and her own body, Joni, a young doctor, leaves her home in the Netherlands for a rural hospital in post-apartheid South Africa. There she lives a life of self-imposed exile, dominated and deadened by the daily stream of medical emergencies confronting her, the inadequacies of the system she works in, and the loneliness of her empty domestic existence. Apart from a few brief erotic encounters, she is able to keep the world at a distance.

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Zero 91 (Italy)
Il mese delle farfalle

Il mese delle farfalle è un libro sulla perdita e su ciò che siamo disposti a fare per evitarne altre… Due Donne. Joni e Zanele. Un luogo: L’Africa. Il destino di Joni: un amore fallito alle spalle, un esilio autoinflitto lontano da casa, poi la rinascita. Joni è un giovane dottoressa. Lascia l’Olanda per andare a lavorare nel prontosoccorso di un grande ospedale africano. Vive in una zona protetta e ha una cameriera di colore, Zanele, che le riordina la casa.

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Other titles by Ariëlla Kornmehl:
The Goldwasser Family
> The Butterly Month
A Silent Mother
Hidden Feelings
Rights sold to:
- Australia (Scribe)
- France (Actes Sud)
- Germany (Bloomsbury Berlin)
- Israel (Hakibbutz Haemeuchad)
- Italy (Zero 91)
- Turkey (Altin Bilek)
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