They say that you should write about what you know. This book is testament to that practice although not in a predicable, factual way. To start with, it is a novel and a novel with a good storyline. Secondly, centre stage revolves around a woman. All the more impressive, then that Simon Brown captures the character and issues so gently and sensitively.
The clue to the underlying message lies buried, fairly shallowly, in the title. It is a story of transformation and growth. Of course, the road is not smooth, in fact our heroine, Amanda Birch, finds obstacle and challenges at every turn. From an apparently predictable and stable life, turmoil ensues and as with most life-changing events, appears random and out of her control. Her marriage, home, friends and work are all consumed by the developing series of events, yet the plot is always believable and engaging. As she investigates, she encounters hostile police, death threats, fraud and alienation. How she manages this developing chaos and upheaval is inspiring and through new friends and old relations, she travels the journey from caterpillar to butterfly.
The characters are accessible and most likely a variation of each is known to each and every one of us. The situations, all be them neatly woven into a compelling thriller, are also familiar. What Simon offers to our heroine, and thus presents to us all, is a new approach to life and living. With regular but subtle references to Simon’s great passion of wabi sabi living (you really should investigate this) through diet, mediation, communication and love, the book contains something for each and every one of us. What is important? How and why we feel like we do and what we can do about it. In fact, the analogy of metamorphosis is apt, relevant and, in my humble opinion, overdue.
If you like thrillers, life stories or books with deeper meaning, Death of a Butterfly is a lovely, compelling and an exciting way to spend several thought-provoking reading hours.
Book reviewed by Phil Birch