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Extended Audio Sample Plum Wine, 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 (876 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Angela Davis-Gardner Narrator: Linda Stevens Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Critically acclaimed author Angela Davis-Gardner’s Plum Wine earned starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, which hailed the “wonderfully inventive plot” and a “protagonist as self-possessed as she is sensitive.” Set in 1960s Japan, Plum Wine is a powerful tale about cultural differences, romantic hardships, and the legacy of Hiroshima. An American teaching English in Tokyo, Barbara Jefferson receives an unusual bequest after the death of her colleague and closest friend, Michiko Nakamoto. In a chest are bottles of homemade plum wine, one for each year from 1939 to the present. The paper wrappings on the bottles are covered with Michiko’s life story, so Barbara gets help translating from Michiko’s childhood friend, a man named Seiji. As the two enter a complicated love affair, their fates become tied to the tragedies and secrets of the past. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A mystery that unfolds as beautifully, delicately, and ceremoniously as a lotus blossom. One of the most memorable novels I have read in many years.” Lee Smith, New York Times bestselling author
  • “A wonderfully romantic and well-composed novel…With such simple, stark, and lovely prose, Davis-Gardner turns this trip back to Japan in the late 1960s into a believable excursion into the deep heart of good young woman and her decent but damaged foreign friends, and into the minefield of questions that linger in American military strategy and foreign policy having to do with the use of nuclear weapons. Thus a novel that stars out in what appears to be a postmortem mood opens itself, and the sensitive reader, to life rather than death.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A sparely written, powerful novel…[Davis-Gardner’s] deeper story of war and its indiscriminate, crippling effects on innocent lives gives this book a timeless currency.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Enthralling…Davis-Gardner handles the Japanese mores of the time expertly, and the dialogue spoken by nonnative English speakers is pitch perfect. She quietly wows with this third novel, which features a wonderfully inventive plot and a protagonist as self-possessed as she is sensitive.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Davis-Gardner’s exceptionally sensitive and enveloping novel illuminates with quiet intensity, psychological suspense, and narrative grace the obdurate divide between cultures, the collision between love and war, and, most piercingly, the horrific legacy of Hiroshima. But Davis-Gardner’s ravishing tale also celebrates the solace of stories and the transcendent bonds people form under the cruelest of circumstances.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Everyone in this book has a secret, a private hurt or a hidden shame, but Davis-Gardner is not interested in melodrama. Even the most disturbing revelations are dispassionately delivered; they create a deep and quiet resonance, rather than cheap sensation…[An] elegant, moving novel.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Karen Barker | 2/13/2014

    " I am aware this is a fictional story with historical elements intertwined, but I find the story to be predictable and realistic. I have spent some time in Japan (3 years). Based on this experience, I find it very difficult to read this book and pretend that Michi would give an American that she just met one year prior to her death such a rich part of her Asian culture. It was also hard to believe that Barbara would not have wondered why Michi did not give Seiji, her Asian colleagues, the school, or the Museum in Hiroshima her writings before giving it to Barbara. Even Japanese people who have embraced the American way of life still practice their traditions and embrace their culture emphatically and for her to give Barbara her tansu that her father built and the writings of her mother does not make common sense to me. Next, her relationship with Seiji. In Japan, a Japanese man with an American women was rare in 1990(my last year there). Again, I could not wrap my mind around this one. In 3 years I did not see one occurence of a Japanese man with an American woman unless it was a paid, very discreet arrangement. But Japanese women with men of other races and cultures was a routine occurence. The few Japanese women I had the privilege to know who dated and/or married outside of their culture had difficulties with their familial relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Deb | 2/9/2014

    " I am enjoying this book, especially the friendship between Seiji and Barbara. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Mara | 2/5/2014

    " I felt that having very little concept of Japanese culture made this book hard for me to read. I felt like I was missing crucial subplots and was only able to do a surface read. The main character, Barbara, was annoying to me at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mary Anne | 1/30/2014

    " I like this book set in Japan 20 years after the bombing of Hiroshima. Since I have not read much about this culture, it was interesting to learn some of the culture and have a personalized picture of the effects of the bombing on some of the ordinary citizens of Hiroshima. It was interesting to learn that these survivors often kept that fact about themselves secret because they were considered outcasts of society. I was not too impressed with the main characters and that is what kept me from really liking the book. "

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