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Heat Imagines Life After Madame Butterfly

What happened to that little boy?

This week marks the publication of The Heat of the Sun in the United States, where it appears on Tuesday 13 November. On Sunday 11 November David was interviewed on US National Public Radio (NPR) Sunday Weekend Edition. NPR creates and distributes award-winning news, information, and music programming to a network of 975 independent stations. Through them, NPR programming reaches 26 million listeners every week.

Part of the the transcript appears below:

The second act of Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly opens with the aching aria “Un Bel Di,” one of the most famous in the Italian repertoire. Onstage, an abandoned young woman sings longingly for “one fine day” when her lover might return to her and their young son in Nagasaki, Japan.

The story takes a tragic turn when the woman — Madame Butterfly — learns that her beloved American, Lt. Pinkerton, finally has returned, only to take their son away to America with his new wife. Before the curtain falls, Madame Butterfly blindfolds her young son and takes her own life. And that’s where the story ends. It leaves opera fans like author David Rain wondering what happened to that little boy. “The question lodged in my mind, and here I am with my answer,” he says.

Rain is the author of a new book, The Heat of the Sun, which imagines the lives of Madama Butterfly‘s characters years later. As the book begins, Trouble, the son of Butterfly and Pinkerton, is a boarding school student in America. Rain tells NPR’s Rachel Martin what happened to Trouble after he left Japan with his father.

Listen to David’s NPR interview here