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.
Utterly unique and entirely enchanting.
The Washington Post
A spectacular novel . . . Butterfly’s Child dominated my mood and thoughts long after I’d finished it.
A novel that demands to be read in one sitting.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Cleverly plotted, well-paced and finely detailed in its depiction of turn-of-the-century Japan and the American Midwest, Butterfly’s Child is the kind of book you sink into, becoming so transfixed by the story you cannot help devouring it.
The Charlotte Observer
Richly imagined . . . In its way, it holds its own alongside the modern Western masterpieces of Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy.
[A] thoughtfully rendered story about love, betrayal and eventual reconciliation . . . Ingenious [and] persuasive.
Book club alert…a highly readable sequel to the tragic opera that works within the characters’ existing framework while still managing to sneak in a few surprises.
Christian Science Monitor
Each character is carefully etched with minimized drama…. Their choices seemed inevitable, but days later I found myself reassessing decisions and missed chances, marveling at how myth and grand gestures create muffled catastrophe for the survivors…. Even opera fans, accustomed to the majestic buildup, will appreciate Davis-Gardner's controlled mastery of bathos, a descent into the everyday that ultimately resonates with more beauty than resplendent dramatics.
The Japan Times