The Green Eyed Butterfly

by Kiffany Dugger
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Reviewed by: Push Nevahda
March 2010


No matter how much we try to escape whatever trauma we’ve experienced in our childhood, the memory-ghosts will always find us. As a matter-of-fact, the memory-ghost is never really silent, invisible, or without constant and consistent presence (and even dominion) over everything that we are and everything that we will become. And it isn’t until we confront the memory-ghost that we are able to find consolation and final resolve. For me, my own childhood trauma could only be reconciled in the form of my first novel, Push Nevahda & the Vicious Circle: scenes from a random life. For Cecelia Robinson, her resolve was manifested in her brilliant novel, Memoirs of a Bitch; Freedom Speaks found it in her masterfully written novel, Manjani; Walter Tariq Anderson Jr. found it in Pappy, and Q. B. Wells located his in the marvelously crafted (and surely classic-bound) BlackFace. For Kiffany Dugger, her resolve is confronted and treated in her wonderful debut novel, The Green-Eyed Butterfly.

Seth St. James’s experiences a great tragedy at the age of eight, and her life is spun into a whirlwind of resigned sadness and interminable despair. She leaves town with a family friend in hopes of self-discovery and peace-of-mind, and to concentrate on running a new business. But Seth cannot forget about the death of her family and the fact that the matter has gone unresolved. A chance encounter with a mysterious visitor leads to inquiry, then on to a suspenseful medley of intrigue and deception.

Dugger’s penchant for macabre and suspense is duly noted in this chilling novel, and all the way to end she keeps us spellbound, restless, and in great anticipation with every turn of each page. Her ability to create complex characters and place them in dense psychological contexts shows style and skill (almost unseen in debut novels). That stated, Dugger is off to a good start, and The Green-Eyed Butterfly may very well be headed for classic status. Let’s hope that this novel can rise above the mess of books that have recently flooded the shelves, and make its way to a position of respectable quality reading. Good work, Kiffany!

What did you like best about the book?
Dugger’s writing is really good! The scene where she wakes up in a psyche ward is brilliant stuff.

What did you like best about the book?
Nothing to dislike.

What did you like best about the book?
Nothing to improve.


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