The Buddha in the Attic

Julie Otsuka. Knopf, $22 (144p) ISBN 978-0-307-70000-1
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.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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FORMATS
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61587-115-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-94076-6
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-307-70046-9
Paperback - 144 pages
Hardcover - 285 pages - 978-1-4104-4622-0
Hardcover - 129 pages - 978-1-905490-87-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-94073-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-02488-5
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