Thursday, March 22, 2012

Butterfly's Child-Angela Davis-Gardner and Giacomo Puccini

Butterfly's Child

Angela Davis-Gardner and Giacomo Puccini

Dial, Apr 10 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780385340953

In 1895, American Lieutenant Benjamin Pinkerton and his new wife Kate travel from Illinois to Nagasaki. There he learns that his geisha Cio-Cio-san committed suicide (see/hear Madame Butterfly by Puccini). Benjamin and Kate takes her three years old son Benji back to the States with them, but hide his heritage by introducing him to their rural neighbors as an orphan they adopted.

Over the years Benji works hard on the farm, but never forgot his samurai roots or his beloved birth mother. He yearns to one day return to Nagasaki where he hopes he will find his kin and they will welcome him home. When his geisha matriarchal background surfaces the townsfolk treats him with scorn. He leaves for the Japanese communities in California before seeking his biological family in Japan.

This terrific historical follows-up what happens to the key surviving protagonists from Madame Butterfly, especially her son. The storyline is character driven by Benji’s search for identity, Kate’s descent into insanity and Benjamin’s inability to cope so turns to alcohol. Puccini would be honored with this deep second act.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: