Night Owl Books is thrilled to support the publication of the beautiful and poignant debut novel Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris. The following list includes the books that inspired the writing of Black Butterflies including Priscilla's individual recommendations. Enjoy!
Love and Obstacles
Aleksandar Hemon£10.99 £10.44
A playful, darkly humorous collection of short stories with the war in Bosnia simmering in the background. Sarajevo-born Hemon was stranded in Chicago when war broke out in his hometown. His sparkling stories revolve around the immigrant experience in Chicago and childhood memories of Yugoslavia.
The Tiger's Wife: Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction and New York Times bestseller
Tea Obreht£9.99 £9.49
This wonderful piece of storytelling starts with a tiger escaping the zoo during the WW2 bombing of Belgrade (simply called ‘our City’) and moves swiftly to a fictionalised telling of the 1990s war, although Yugoslavia is never named. The shelling of Mostar and Sarajevo are conflated into the siege of ‘Sarobar’. Folktales and a touch of magical realism weave through the enjoyable pages of this acclaimed novel.
An excellent, surprisingly humorous novel about the first year of the siege through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Maya, whose family lodges in a museum when their apartment is shelled. Veličković, who defended Sarajevo, wrote this book during lull periods on the front, cramming the story into small pieces of paper (a scarce commodity at the time).
Besieged: Life Under Fire on a Sarajevo Street
Barbara Demick£9.99 £9.49
An excellent eyewitness account of life under siege in a particular Sarajevo street. American journalist Demick follows the lives of ten families of all nationalities over the three and half years of the siege.
The Balkans, 1804-2012: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers
Misha Glenny£19.99 £18.99
For me, the best and most engaging book on the rise and fall of Yugoslavia. Glenny is convinced that to understand Yugoslav history, it is essential to look at the history of the entire region and the substantial influence of the great powers. He strives to debunk the myth that ancient hatreds doom the Balkans to perpetual self-destruction.
The Bridge Over the Drina
Ivo Andric£12.99 £12.34
The 1945 masterpiece by the Nobel-prize winning author. This historical novel tells the – or rather a – story of the roots of Yugoslavia through the tale of the eleven-arched bridge in Višegrad, Bosnia, from its Ottoman conception to its destruction four centuries later during World War One. It follows generations of the predominantly Serb and Muslim communities of the town, whose lives revolve around the magnificent bridge.
The English Patient: Winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize
Michael Ondaatje£9.99 £9.49
World War Two through the eyes of the forgotten – a French-Canadian nurse, a Sikh sapper, a Canadian thief, and the eponymous ‘English’ patient attempt to heal in a shelled Italian villa. I drew huge inspiration from the poetic prose, startling imagery, exquisite sense of place, and themes of loss and desire.
Albert Camus£9.99 £9.49
This chilling classic follows the rise and fall of an outburst of the plague in the Algerian town of Oran. The population is put under lockdown, the death count soars, and ‘camps’ open in football stadiums to separate the infected from the healthy. Its structure and themes influenced those of Black Butterflies.
Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts
Samuel Beckett£12.99 £12.34
The marginalised figures of Gogo and Didi wait endlessly for Godot to save them. There is much that speaks of the texture of life under siege in Beckett’s play – the abandoned characters are subject to constant violence as they wait for external relief to arrive. Susan Sontag staged a truncated version in Sarajevo under siege.
Black Butterflies: Shortlisted for the Women's Prize 2023
Priscilla Morris£16.99 £16.14
Buy a copy of Black Butterflies from our shop today to support our new bookshop and a debut author.