The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka
Author: Julie Otsuka
Challenges: Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical fiction
Description: Julie Otsuka’s long-awaited follow-up to When the Emperor Was Divine is a tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago.
In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the picture brides’ 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. (via Goodreads)
Thoughts: I didn't know what to think of this book as I haven't read her first book, When the Emperor Was Divine, nor did I know what to expect. The only thing I knew was that one of the podcasters on Bookrageous really likes the book and because of the mention on an episode I listened to recently, I had to read it. And while it seemed to be have been either a hit or a miss with readers on Goodreads, I quite enjoyed it. I not only liked the fact that it was a quick read, but liked that it was something that gives readers a reason to think about what happened to Japanese-Americans (and Japanese-Canadians as well) during World War II without the intent of being thought provoking. In other words, it was subtle in how it gets you thinking about things. I also liked how the language was simple on the surface, but it wasn't simple in its meanings.
Bottom line: It was a beautiful piece of fiction that didn't require a lot words to get its point across. I would recommend it to readers that like fiction that is short but also packs a punch. Highly recommended.
Pages for 2013: 8860