Angela Davis-Gardner is the author of several critically acclaimed novels: Felice, Forms of Shelter, Plum Wine, and Butterfly's Child. Her short stories and personal essays have appeared in numerous literary magazines including Shenandoah and The Greensboro Review. Due to the success of Plum Wine she has been able to retire as professor of creative writing at North Carolina State University to write full time.
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.
Forms of Shelter
Perched amid the leaves of the Osage orange tree in her stepfather's backyard, Beryl Fonteyn observes the life around her--Mama's desperate attempts to gain Jack's approval by writing her novel, which he mercilessly critiques; her brother Stevie's unhealthy fascination with acting out events from the Bible; and Jack's obsession with his bees--all the while imagining that her runaway father will one day return. But as Beryl's adolescent turmoil collides with the confines of Jack's eccentric home, a shattering secret will divide their loyalties--and in one irrevocable moment the home that Beryl's family has found, their shelter in the storm, will be torn apart forever. . . .
Barbara Jefferson, a young American teaching in Tokyo in the 1960s, is set on a life-changing quest when her Japanese surrogate mother, Michi, dies, leaving her a tansu of homemade plum wines wrapped in rice paper. Within the papers Barbara discovers writings in Japanese calligraphy that comprise a startling personal narrative. With the help of her translator, Seiji Okada, Barbara begins to unravel the mysteries of Michi's life, a story that begins in the early twentieth century and continues through World War II and its aftermath.
As Barbara and Seiji translate the plum wine papers they form an intimate bond, with Michi a ghostly third in what becomes an increasingly uneasy triangle. Barbara is deeply affected by the revelation that Michi and Seiji are hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, and even harder for her to understand are the devastating psychological effects wrought by war. Plum Wine examines human relationships, cultural differences, and the irreparable consequences of war in a story that is both original and timeless.
A Notable Fiction Book of 2007, selected by the Kiriyama Prize Committee
Winner, Fiction Award, Southern Independent Bookstore Alliance
Notable Fiction, Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize
In a remote convent school in Nova Scotia, an aging nun has a miraculous vision; a mute, injured man washes up on the nearby shore; and a group of girls is busily creating a reckless drama of excitements real and imagined. Here, amid the vows and rituals of Lent, a young girl named Felice has been sent after the death of her parents, poised somewhere between childhood, womanhood, and sainthood. A tragic death, a shocking revelation, and a baffling disappearance will set Felice on a staggering passage to self-discovery--armed with miracles that are uniquely her own.