The Buddha in the Attic
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 Chronicle"). Julie 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.
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 Paints a poignant, moving portrait of immigration by deftly weaving together a chorus of voices. Fascinating and tragic in equal measure Easy Living A tender, nuanced, empathetic exploration of the sorrows and consolations of a whole generation of women 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 Novels written in the first person plural are rare. It's a narrative device that gives The Buddha in the Attic a deliciously melancholy quality ... Powerful, lyrical and almost unbearably sad Psychologies Powerfully moving ... intensely lyrical ... verges on the edge of poetry Independent The tone is often incantatory, and though the language is direct, unconvoluted, almost without metaphor, its true and very unusual merit lies, I think, in that indefinable quality we call poetry -- Ursula Le Guin Guardian A kind of collective memoir that squeezes volumes of experience into a small space ... more than a history lesson because Otsuka compresses the individual emotions into one haunting story The Times Her trick is to sum up a few life story in a few tantalising sentences, moving on to the next at lightning speed. The result is panoramic, each line opening a window on to the world of one woman after another, pinpointing each one's hopes and happiness or misery and pain Sunday Express Intriguing ... fleeting, singular images pile up and reverberate against each other to strange, memorable effect Metro Spare but resonant, powerful, evocative The New York Times Book Review Spare and stunning ... Otsuka has created a tableau as intricate as the pen strokes her humble immigrant girls learned to use in letters to loved ones they'd never see again Oprah Magazine A delicate, heartbreaking portrait ... beautifully rendered ... Otsuka's prose is precise and rich with imagery. [Readers] will finish this exceptional book profoundly moved. Publishers Weekly This chorus of narrators speaks in a poetry that is both spare and passionate, sure to haunt even the most coldhearted among us Chicago Tribune A stunning feat of empathetic imagination and emotional compression, capturing the experience of thousands of women Vogue A lithe stunner Elle To watch Emperor catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird The New York Times on When the Emperor was Divine