When three-year-old Benji is plucked from the security of his home in Nagasaki to live with his American father, Lt. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, and stepmother, Kate, on their farm in Illinois, the family conceals Benji’s true identity as a child born from a liaison between an officer and a geisha, and instead tells everyone that he is an orphan.
Frank struggles to keep the farm going while coping with his guilt and longing for the deceased Butterfly. Deeply devout Kate is torn between her Christian principles and her resentment of raising another woman’s child. And Benji’s life as an outcast—neither fully American nor fully Japanese—forces him to forge an identity far from the life he has known.
When the truth about Benji surfaces, it will splinter this family’s fragile dynamic, sending repercussions spiraling through their close-knit rural community and sending Benji on the journey of a lifetime from Illinois to the Japanese settlements in Denver and San Francisco, then across the ocean to Nagasaki, where he will uncover the truth about his mother’s tragic death.
A sweeping portrait of a changing American landscape at the end of the nineteenth century, and of a Japanese culture irrevocably altered by foreign influence, Butterfly’s Child explores people in transition—from old worlds to new customs, heart’s desires to vivid realities—in an epic tale that plays out as both a conclusion to and an inspiration for one of the most famous love stories ever told.
Liz Darhansoff, at Darhansoff & Verrill
Angela Davis-Gardner was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. She began writing early, with stories she made up for her impressionable brother, and was early on encouraged by her teachers. The only Poet Laureateship she has ever held or is likely to hold was at Brooks Elementary School in Greensboro.
She attended Duke University (B.A. in English, Phi Beta Kappa), where she studied with the charismatic teacher of creative writing and Elizabethan literature William Blackburn. At the University of N.C. at Greensboro, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts, her mentors were Peter Taylor, Robert Watson, and Randall Jarrell. Her thesis was a collection of stories that were influenced by Eudora Welty and other Southern writers. Read More