NATIONAL BESTSELLER • National Book Award Finalist • Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award
The acclaimed author of When the Emperor Was Divine tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” a century ago in this "understated masterpiece ... that unfolds with great emotional power" (San Francisco Chronicle).
In eight unforgettable sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the extraordinary lives of these women, from their arduous journeys by boat, to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; from their experiences raising children who would later reject their culture and language, to the deracinating arrival of war.
Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.
Don’t miss Julie Otsuka’s new novel, The Swimmers, coming in February 2022!
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.
While not as lyrical as her previous novel this is still a powerful work... for those not familiar with the history of Japanese immigrants to California and their struggles to be accepted and later the interment of them and their descendants during WW2 this should perhaps be a prequel for her first novel ‘when the emperor was divine’....
The Buddah in the Attic
I love her writing. Lean, passionate, deeply poetic. I followed the excerpts of this book in Harpers and Granta earlier this year anxious to read the whole book. It does not disappoint. Highly recommended!
The Buddha in the Attic
This is the absolute worst book I have ever purchased. Her writing style is painfully repetitive, much like beating my head with a hammer. The characters do not have names or defined personalities, since everyone is grouped as a "we." Don't waste your device"s space by downloading this book even if it is for free!