The Buddha in the Attic, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic, the follow-up to When the Emperor Was Divine was shortlisted for the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of the Pen Faulkner Award for Fiction 2012.Between the first and second world wars a group of young, non-English-speaking Japanese women travelled by boat to America.

They were picture brides, clutching photos of husbands-to-be whom they had yet to meet.

Julie Otsuka tells their extraordinary, heartbreaking story in this spellbinding and poetic account of strangers lost and alone in a new and deeply foreign land.'Sweeping, symphonic, empathic . . . subtle, infinitely skilful . . . an exhilarating, compulsive read. Otsuka's haunting, heartbreaking conclusion, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, is faultless' Daily Mail'A tender, nuanced, empathetic exploration of the sorrows and consolations of a whole generation of women . . . the distaff equivalent of a war memorial' Daily Telegraph'A haunting and heartbreaking look at the immigrant experience . . . Otsuka's keenly observed prose manages to capture whole histories in a sweep of gorgeous incantatory sentences' Marie Claire'An understated masterpiece... she conjures up the lost voices of a generation of Japanese American women without losing sight of the distinct experience of each' San Francisco ChronicleJulie Otsuka was born and raised in California.

She is the author of the novel When the Emperor Was Divine, and a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship.

Her second novel, The Buddha in the Attic, was nominated for the 2011 National Book Award.

She lives in New York City.


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Beautiful. I loved the "hive mind" approach to fictionalising oral history, although I know it annoyed some readers: a few members of my book club would have preferred to have followed the individual stories in a more traditional manner. My thought was that to write it that way, while retaining the diversity of experience, would have resulted in a book at least 10 times as long and lacking in the delicious lightness of touch that blesses this slim and enchanting volume. This made me want to know more about the subject, so I was glad to see Julie Otsuka's long list of references at the end. I'm very keen to seek out more of her writing.