"Masterfully weaves Madame Butterfly through the 20th century ... evoke(s) Fitzgerald and Styron"
“Spanning most of the 20th century, Australian author Rain continues the story begun in Madame Butterfly in his ambitious debut. U.S. naval officer Pinkerton becomes a powerful 20th-century political figure through his marriage to Kate, scion of an influential family who raises as her own her husband’s illegitimate son, Ben, known as “Trouble.” Telling his story and theirs is crippled orphan Woodley Sharpless, whose father was the American consul in the original opera. Woodley and Trouble meet at boarding school and their curious friendship survives decades and distances, Trouble’s melodramatic struggles for identity, and his parents’ fight for power and influence. Woodley’s difficulties in determining his place in the world are less dramatic. Yet the budding poet moves through glittering circles courtesy of his aunt, a “real-life Auntie Mame,” travels to Japan before WWII, and, thanks to the Pinkertons, finds himself witness to the Manhattan Project. These characters and a sense of tragedy evoke American authors Fitzgerald and Styron, yet Rain’s outsider worldview enriches rather than dulls the narrative, particularly in sequences set in Pacific Rim Asia and others involving the Bomb. The author masterfully weaves Madame Butterfly through the 20th century, assuring that the connections never read as coincidences or plot devices. Agent: Sara Menguc, U.K. (Nov.)”