Review: The Buddha in the Attic

Why I picked it: After reading so many reviews for this book recently that I had to read it. 

Synopsis: A gorgeous novel by the celebrated author of When the Emperor Was Divine 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 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. Once again, Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: This is one of those book where I wonder how listening v reading impacts a book.  I listened to it and fell in love with the writing style.  At just 4 CD's... it's a tiny, powerful book.

The Buddha in the Attic is a heartbreaking tale of Japanese women traveling to America to meet their future husbands, Japanese picture brides.  The trip from Japan to America is a tough one but even worse is the deception taken to get them there.  Fake photo's and letters written to them, telling them of the wonderful life that awaits them.

Their hopes and dreams are quickly shattered, made even worse after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.

Told in the first person 'we' voice, it's the story of tribe of women... it's not one woman's story.  This is a moving story that everyone should read.  It's an important history lesson about a time in US history that we don't look back on fondly.

After finishing this book I immediately went to the internet to learn more about this period in time.  While searching I found an author interview on public radio (included below).

WNYC author interview (Leonard Lopate interviews Julie Otsuka):

Rating: 4 stars
Source: Library (audio)