Breathtaking Butterflies: Background information when reading Night of Fire

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Night of Fire

by Colin Thubron

Night of Fire by Colin Thubron X
Night of Fire by Colin Thubron
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2018, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Zoƫ Fairtlough

Buy This Book

About this Book

Breathtaking Butterflies

This article relates to Night of Fire

Print Review

Night of Fire frequently references butterflies, often ethereal, almost infinite in variation, and miraculous in their metamorphosis: "...the butterfly's resurrection was different: the winged angel risen from a worm...It showed that anything could become anything." It's as though Thubron wants to remind us time and again that we can change, we don't have to be worms.

The word butterfly literally means a fly that's attracted to butter. A German name, "milchdieb," means milk-thief. In places where ancient farming methods are still practiced, it's not uncommon to find butterflies hovering over buttermilk left to settle.

Here are but five of the many butterfly species that appear in the book:

Glasswing butterfly Glasswings (Greta oto) are ethereal creatures, their wings fully transparent except for the brown borders. The "glass" winged look is because the tissue between the veins lacks colored scales. Although they look fragile, the wings are quite robust, enabling the Glasswing to fly up to twelve miles a day. They're found mostly in central to south America and even as far north as Mexico and Texas.

Zebra Longwing butterfly Heliconius, such as the Zebra Longwing, are found in the southern United States and also central America. The caterpillars ingest the toxins from passion flowers, one of their primary food sources, and can therefore be very poisonous to predators. They are also famous for their cannibalistic caterpillars that eat their siblings.

Rajah Brooke Birdwing butterfly The large Rajah Brooke Birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana) is found in the tropical rainforests of Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra, and is related to its more well known counterpart, the Swallowtail. Its bouncy and rather slow flight pattern, makes it easy to catch. This butterfly is on the CITES list, which prevents the trafficking and sales of protected and endangered species.

Morphos butterfly The Morphos (various genuses) inhabit the forests of the Amazon and Atlantic. Their gorgeous iridescent blue color comes not from pigmentation but the way the tiny scales are arranged so as to refract light much like a prismatic effect. The undersides of their wings are dusky brown so these butterflies avoid predators by folding their wings and using the duller color as camouflage.

Owl butterflyTo avoid predators, the Owl butterfly (Caligo) flies at dusk and bears very conspicuous "eyes" on its underwings as camouflage.

This "beyond the book article" relates to Night of Fire. It originally ran in February 2017 and has been updated for the January 2018 paperback edition.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Rust & Stardust
    Rust & Stardust
    by T Greenwood
    Highly readable and tightly plotted, T. Greenwood's Rust and Stardust achieves the perfect ...
  • Book Jacket: American Prison
    American Prison
    by Shane Bauer
    After spending over two years in Iran's notorious Evin Prison for supposedly crossing the country's ...
  • Book Jacket: Small Fry
    Small Fry
    by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
    Small Fry is the debut memoir from Lisa Brennan-Jobs, long-time journalist and writer, and oldest ...
  • Book Jacket: The Winter Soldier
    The Winter Soldier
    by Daniel Mason
    Imagine the thousands of confounding cases doctors face routinely for which diagnoses are hard to ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Removes by Tatjana Soli

A powerful, transporting novel about the addictive intensity and freedom of the American frontier.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    French Exit
    by Patrick deWitt

    A brilliant and darkly comic novel from bestselling author Patrick deWitt.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House. On sale Oct 9.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T Turn T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.