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Extended Audio Sample Butterfly’s Child: A Novel Audiobook, by Angela Davis-Gardner Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (494 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Angela Davis-Gardner Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9781461800064
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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—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 uncovers the truth about his mother’s tragic death.

A sweeping portrait of a changing American landscape at the end of the nineteenth century, Butterfly’s Child explores people in transition—from old worlds to new customs, hearts’ 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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janine Holter | 2/18/2014

    " A good read. Unexpected developments in the story. I was left wanting more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathalie | 2/9/2014

    " Love the idea of the storyline tying in with the opera Madame Butterly. Still thinking about the book although I ultimately decided that I didn't end up liking either of the main characters. Also, the ending left me with some questions but I don't feel like the author tied up the most important story lines and left us with an idea as to what happened with some of the other characters. Although I would have liked more loose ends tied up, I can live with how she ended things. The book wasn't necessarily a page turner til half way through however, it was well written and I liked the parallel story lines. I would recommend this to others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy Pickens | 2/9/2014

    " A very interesting "after Tale" of the famous opera Madame Butterfly. A "whatever happened to..." story. I really enjoyed it. Lush with intriguing yet deeply flawed characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard Kollath | 1/18/2014

    " It's not often you begin a novel feeling you already know a character, but in Butterfly's Child, author Angela Davis-Gardner creates a life for Benji, the child of Co Co San and Pinkerton from Puccini's opera, Madama Butterfly." This is a lovely read, the unfolding of Benji's life with his family in America. To read this book is to travel on an adventure - the plains of Illinois, Denver, San Francico, and finally Japan. The poetry of Davis-Gardner's descriptions envelop and hold the reader. This was a story I wished would continue. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 1/17/2014

    " This novel is a sequel to Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly. But where the opera is concerned with the dramatic love between Lt. Pinkerton and the Japanese geisha Butterfly, the novel is about Benji, the child of these two lovers. When Benji is a toddler, his mother commits suicide and he is taken away to America to live with his father and stepmother on a farm. After many difficulties Benji settles in but there remain a lot of issues between the three of them. Benji wants to know more about his mother and Japan but has to keep quiet, Frank cannot forget about Butterfly and drinks away his sorrows, and Kate tries to fulfill her Christian duty but struggles with the fact that she has to raise Butterfly's child and regrets her marriage to Frank. All these facts are beautifully and convincingly worked out. After Benji runs away from home, I found the story a bit farfetched but the real surprise at the end made up for that. A moving story about a boy that is lost between two cultures; in America people regard him as Japanese and in Japan people see him as an American. A must for people that are interested in works of historical fiction and have an interest in Japan. You don't have to know anything about the opera to enjoy this novel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julie Svenson | 1/17/2014

    " Just didn't speak to me. The ending was poorly written and the characters unbelievable. Leave this one on the shelf. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/12/2014

    " creative story with a plot twist that sold me only after a while. I appreciated it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anastasia | 1/4/2014

    " I thought this was a well-written book and the author did a great job of developing characters who were complicated and generally sympathetic, despite doing ugly things. The end fell a little flat for me, but otherwise I enjoyed this take on the principal characters from Madama Butterfly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roz Topolski | 1/4/2014

    " It was an interesting concept, but the story moved too slowly. Unfortunately, I found I was skimming to get to the end of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dagny Denten | 11/6/2013

    " I really liked the story. It is not important that you have seen the opera- a short synopsis will do fine. I am not sure I really liked the ending, although I can't come up with a better idea. The ending doesn't take away from the beautifully written story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nell Joslin | 10/30/2013

    " Lovely and lyrical, strong characters, good story. Deeply felt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 7/19/2013

    " Great book!!! Now I want to see "Madame Butterfly"!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheila | 5/15/2013

    " Would give it a 3.5-about 4. Interesting concept basing an historical novel on what could happen to the characters in the opera Madame Butterfly (and the lack of racial acceptance in early 1900's US). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chloe Marie | 5/14/2013

    " I liked the first half very much. In fact, I found it so intriguing that I couldn't put it down. For some reason, the second half just didn't have the same effect on me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 2/11/2013

    " Enjoyed the story of acceptance (or lack thereof) of race at the turn of the 20th century and the undying quest for truth by the child. In the end, truth is different than he thought it was! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 1/14/2013

    " Davis-Gardner has written a beautiful story of the life of Madame Butterfly's son after her tragic death. A wonderful choice for book clubs - there is a great deal to think about after reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 12/18/2012

    " Loved it. A great novel, beginning with the ending of Madame Butterfly, the story takes Benji's life from Nagasaki to America and the trials and family drama that occurs because of this change. A page turner for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 10/4/2012

    " well written and enjoyable. historical fiction is one of my favorties and this was very good. she has written 3 other books and i would definately look them up "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Britta | 7/16/2012

    " The premise of this is so elegant and many reviewers extolled the plot twists in later pages, but I found the bigotry and violence portrayed in the first third so repulsive I could not read the whole book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 6/9/2012

    " A solid 2 1/2 but not quite enough for a 3. First 1/2 infinitely better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yvonne | 4/3/2012

    " A tight, beautifully crafted meta-fiction novel. Characters are believable and fully imagined. I didn't want it to end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Vitale | 3/25/2012

    " I really liked her writing style. beautifully written and captures drama of Madame Butterfly thru a compelling story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Costlow | 1/27/2012

    " This is a great story and a quick read. I seemed to just end and we're left hanging on several issues that need to be resolved. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cathy | 1/13/2012

    " So many miserable people. And I guess I'm a little bit of a purist -- I think they changed too much from the opera - which I like a lot. Didn't want it tampered with. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 6/6/2011

    " Interesting. Good characters, though you don't like them all, you come to understand them. Good read. Maybe even a good book club selection. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nell | 6/2/2011

    " Lovely and lyrical, strong characters, good story. Deeply felt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/28/2011

    " creative story with a plot twist that sold me only after a while. I appreciated it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 5/17/2011

    " Enjoyed the story of acceptance (or lack thereof) of race at the turn of the 20th century and the undying quest for truth by the child. In the end, truth is different than he thought it was! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 5/2/2011

    " If any novel deserves to be called a page-turner, this is it. One surprising event leads to another, blending comedy, tragedy and history. And all of it in luminous prose that you want to read aloud. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 4/28/2011

    " Novel as opera...interesting idea. What happened to Butterfly's child after Pinkerton and his wife meet his child? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 4/27/2011

    " Davis-Gardner has written a beautiful story of the life of Madame Butterfly's son after her tragic death. A wonderful choice for book clubs - there is a great deal to think about after reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yvonne | 4/27/2011

    " A tight, beautifully crafted meta-fiction novel. Characters are believable and fully imagined. I didn't want it to end. "

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About the Narrator

Jennifer Ikeda has been narrating audiobooks since 2002. Among her readings are When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park; Just Listen by Sarah Dessen; and After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates. She has won six AudioFile Earphones Awards.