M. Butterfly

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Very Good
Paperback, 100 pages
The Penguin Group, 1989
First Plume Book Edition, First Printing

Based upon a true story that stunned the world, M. Butterfly opens in the cramped prison cell where diplomat Rene Gallimard is being held captive by the French governmentand by his own illusions. In the darkness of his cell he recalls Song Liling, the beautiful Chinese diva, who touched him with a love as vivid, as seductive—and as elusive—as a butterfly.

How could he have known, then, that his ideal woman was actually a spy for the Chinese government using favor to extract information from Gallimard, arraying herself as the meek, submissive Asian female of his fantasies? In the end, there remains only one truth: Whether or not Gallimard's passion was a flight of fancy, it sparked the most vigorous emotions of his life.

Only in real life could love become so unreal. And only in such a dramatic tour de force do we learn how a fantasy can become a man's mistress—as well as his jailer. M. Butterfly is one of the most compelling, explosive, and slyly humorous dramas ever to light the Broadway stage, a work of unrivaled brilliance, illuminating the conflict between men and women, the differences between East and West, racial stereotypes—and the shadows we cast around our most cherished illusions.

M. Butterfly remains one of the most influential romantic plays of contemporary literature.

With an Afterword by the Playwright

Editorial Reviews

"Audaciously imaginative...big in conception and theme.  David Henry Hwang joins the first string of American playwrights." Variety

"A brilliant play of ideas...a visionary work that bridges the history and culture of two worlds." Frank Rich, The New York Times

"Just when you've seen every possible coupling, M. Butterfly presents one of the most provocative and touching of all." USA Today

"A many-splendored theatrical treasure.  A thrilling drama.  A sensational real-life story of love and treachery." Frederick Winship, UPI

About the Author

David Henry Hwang is the author of the Tony Award-winning M. Butterfly, Yellow Face (OBIE Award, 2008 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Golden Child (1997 OBIE Award), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), Family Devotions (Drama Desk nomination), and the books for musicals Aida ( co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 Broadway revival), and Tarzan, among other works. David Henry Hwang graduated from Stanford University, attended the Yale School of Drama, and holds honorary degrees from Columbia College in Chicago and The American Conservatory Theatre. He lives in New York City with his wife, actress Kathryn Layng, and their children, Noah David and Eva Veanne.