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. When the truth surfaces, it will splinter this family’s fragile dynamic and send 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.
Angela Davis-Gardner has published four critically acclaimed novels, Butterfly’s Child, Plum Wine, Forms of Shelter, and Felice, as well as numerous short stories and essays. Butterfly’s Child, a novel that imagines the fate of Madama Butterfly and Lt. Pinkerton’s son (drawing on the opera Madama Butterfly) was widely praised when it was published in 2011. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan called it her “book crush of the year”. Plum Wine, set in Japan during the 1960s, was named a Notable Novel by the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize for its contribution to East-West understanding. Forms of Shelter, which explores the ways a troubled family both acts out and denies the pain at its core, was a best-seller in France. Felice, the story of a young girl growing up in a convent in Nova Scotia in the 1920s, the eccentric nun who is her mentor, and a shipwreck survivor, has been made into an opera which was most recently staged at Opera Breve. A Distinguished Professor Emerita at North Carolina State University, Angela lives in Raleigh, North Carolina