M. Butterfly

Front Cover
New American Library, 1989 - Drama - 100 pages
0 Reviews
Based on 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 government-and by his own illusions. In the darkness of his cell he recalls a time when desire seemed to give him wings. A time when Song Liling, the beautiful Chinese diva, 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, in fact, a spy for the Chinese government-and a man disguised as a woman? In a series of flashbacks, the diplomat relives the twenty-year affair from the temptation to the seduction, from its consummation to the scandal that ultimately consumed them both. But 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.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

1 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1989)

The son of immigrant Chinese parents, Hwang attended Stanford University and the Yale Drama School and has been a director and a teacher of playwriting. FOB (1981), which stands for "Fresh off the boat,"' explores the conflicts between two Chinese Americans and a Chinese exchange student still steeped in the customs and beliefs of the old world. It won an Obie Award in 1981. The Dance and the Railroad (1982) concerns an artist and his fellow workers who stage a strike to protest the inhuman conditions suffered by Chinese railroad workers in the American West in the nineteenth century. M Butterfly (1988), about the relationship between an American man and a Chinese transvestite, won the Tony Award as best play of the year. Maxine Hong Kingston wrote, "David Hwang has an ear for Chinatown English, the language of childhood and the subconscious, the language of emotion, the language of home.

Bibliographic information