Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner

Plum_wine     As this novel opens, Barbara Jefferson, a young woman from Raleigh, is teaching in a college in Japan. An older professor named Michi has been her mentor, helping her adjust to a new culture. Now Michi is dead, and her legacy to Barbara is a small chest filled with bottles of the plum wine that Michi and her mother made. Around each bottle is a piece of paper giving the date when the wine was made. Barbara’s curiosity is aroused when she discovers, inside the papers, writings in Japanese. She can’t wait to find a translator and to learn what Michi wanted her to know.

     As the novel progresses, Barbara learns much about Michi’s life and of the experiences of Michi’s mother and grandmother. She also falls in love with a Japanese man. Along with Barbara, we learn about the long-range effects of the bombing at Hiroshima on the Japanese people and about the fox mythology of Japan.

     Davis-Gardner, professor of creative writing at North Carolina State University, is the daughter of the famous local author Burke Davis. She draws on her own visits to Japan, as well as on thorough research, to make her novel accurate.

(Helen Snow, Information Services)

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