Quick Review: The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

I had heard of this book and was thrilled to find it in the new release section of our library. At just over 120 pages, it is  quick read and I read it in a few hours. Julie Otsuka has told the story of Japanese “picture brides”, coming to America (California) to their new husbands, marrying and having families, and then enduring the hardships of WWII and relocation. What makes this book so unique is the voice – or voices – that Otsuka writes in. Described as “incantory”, the voice is each individual voice of the women, along with being all of them. As each voice has a story, collectively they tell a story. While I’m sure some readers may not enjoy this technique, I thought it was quite brilliant. It makes the book read almost like poetry and reinforces the fact that each person’s story is their own. Otsuka is the author of “When the Emperor Was Divine”, which I’ll need to read!


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