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The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka

Overview - Finalist for the 2011 National Book Award

Julie Otsuka's long awaited follow-up to "When the Emperor Was Divine "("To watch "Emperor" catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like "Lord of the Flies" and "To Kill a Mockingbird"" --"The New York Times") is a tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as 'picture brides' nearly a century ago.  Read more...


 
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More About The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
 
 
 
Overview
Finalist for the 2011 National Book Award

Julie Otsuka's long awaited follow-up to "When the Emperor Was Divine "("To watch "Emperor" catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like "Lord of the Flies" and "To Kill a Mockingbird"" --"The New York Times") is a tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as 'picture brides' nearly a century ago.
In eight incantatory sections, "The Buddha in the Attic" traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.
In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singularly spellbinding novel about the American dream.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780307700001
  • ISBN-10: 0307700003
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: August 2011
  • Page Count: 129


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Family Life
Books > Fiction > Cultural Heritage

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-07-18
  • Reviewer: Staff

In the early 1900s, numerous Japanese mail order brides came to America seeking better lives. Otsuka's (When the Emperor was Divine) latest novel paints a delicate, heartbreaking portrait of these women. Using a collective first-person narrator ("On the boat we were mostly virgins."), Otsuka looks at the experiences of these "picture brides," organizing their stories into themes which include: their arrival in America; their first nights with their husbands; their interactions with white people; their children; and finally, the experience of World War II. Each section is beautifully rendered, a delicate amalgam of contrasting and complementary experiences. Readers will instantly empathize with these unnamed women as they adjust to American culture, a remarkable achievement considering Otsuka's use of the collective voice. Otsuka's prose is precise and rich with imagery. Readers will be inspired to draw their own parallels between the experiences of these women and the modern experience of immigration. By the time readers realize that the story is headed toward the internment of the Japanese, they are hopelessly engaged and will finish this exceptional book profoundly moved. (Aug.)

 
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