- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Books (20 March 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307744426
- ISBN-13: 978-0307744425
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.1 x 20.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 159 g
- Customer Reviews: 782 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Buddha in the Attic Paperback – 20 March 2012
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"Exquisitely written. . . . An understated masterpiece...that unfolds with great emotional power. . . . Destined to endure." --The San Francisco Chronicle"Arresting and alluring. . . . A novel that feels expansive yet is a magical act of compression." --Chicago Tribune "A stunning feat of empathetic imagination and emotional compression, capturing the experience of thousands of women." --Vogue "Otsuka's incantatory style pulls her prose close to poetry. . . . Filled with evocative descriptive sketches...and hesitantly revelatory confessions." --The New York Times Book Review "A fascinating paradox: brief in span yet symphonic in scope, all-encompassing yet vivid in its specifics. Like a pointillist painting, it's composed of bright spots of color: vignettes that bring whole lives to light in a line or two, adding up to a vibrant group portrait." --The Seattle Times "Mesmerizing. . . . Told in a first-person plural voice that feels haunting and intimate, the novel traces the fates of these nameless women in America. . . . Otsuka extracts the grace and strength at the core of immigrant (and female) survival and, with exquisite care, makes us rethink the heartbreak of eternal hope. Though the women vanish, their words linger." --More "Spare and stunning. . . . By using the collective 'we' to convey a constantly shifting, strongly held group identity within which distinct individuals occasionally emerge and recede, 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." --O, The Oprah Magazine "With great daring and spectacular success, she has woven countless stories gleaned from her research into a chorus of the women's voices, speaking their collective experience in a plural 'we, ' while incorporating the wide range of their individual lives. . . . The Buddha in the Attic moves forward in waves of experiences, like movements in a musical composition. . . . By its end, Otsuka's book has become emblematic of the brides themselves: slender and serene on the outside, tough, weathered and full of secrets on the inside." --Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "A gorgeous mosaic of the hopes and dreams that propelled so many immigrants across an ocean to an unknown country. . . . Otsuka illuminates the challenges, suffering and occasional joy that they found in their new homeland. . . . Wrought in exquisite poetry, each sentence spare in words, precise in meaning and eloquently evocative, like a tanka poem, this book is a rare, unique treat. . . . Rapturous detail. . . . A history lesson in heartbreak." --Washington Independent Review of Books "[Otsuka] brazenly writes in hundreds of voices that rise up into one collective cry of sorrow, loneliness and confusion. . . . The sentences are lean, and the material reflects a shameful time in our nation's past. . . . Otsuka winds a thread of despair throughout the book, haunting the reader at every chapter. . . . Otsuka masterfully creates a chorus of the unforgettable voices that echo throughout the chambers of this slim but commanding novel, speaking of a time that no American should ever forget." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune "Daring. . . . Frequently mesmerizing. . . . Otsuka has the moves of cinematographer, zooming in for close-ups, then pulling back for wide lens group shots. . . . [Otsuka is] a master of understatement and apt detail. . . . Her stories seem rooted in curiosity and a desire to understand." --Bookpage "Precise, focused. . . . Penetrating. . . . See it and you'll want to pick it up. Start reading it and you won't want to put it down. . . . A boldly imagined work that takes a stylistic risk more daring and exciting than many brawnier books five times its size. Even the subject matter is daring. . . . Specific, clear, multitudinous in its grasp and subtly emotional." --The Huffington Post
About the Author
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. She lives in New York City.
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Top international reviews
This book however is outstanding. It took me a while to adjust and warm up to the strange narration style (1st person plural? Which I've never, ever seen done before). For a while I was trying to work out what value it really added, because it felt almost gimmicky at times, but it pays off massively in the second half.
It's a fantastic novel and a really innovative form from my point of view. It's wonderful to see authors challenging what we think of as a novel.
The "we" in question are young Japanese girls and women making their way to new meet new husbands in America and Julie Otsuka creates an amazingly evocative atmosphere from the moment that they embark on their journey through to the outbreak of World War II. By using the "we" technique the story is not limited to the trials and tribulations of one of the girls but instead we see a wide spectrum of what their new world holds. For many it is not the promised land they had hoped for and their husbands don't turn out as expected. For a lucky few, life is good.
For a relatively short book, the author has crammed in a great deal and we learn a lot about a group of people who are very much forgotten today (I certainly knew nothing about them before reading this).
It leaves the reader with plenty to think about and a true sense of understanding what these young women went through in their very difficult move to another continent.
However, I found it wonderful! The flow of the story, told by a great many women, is exciting, frightening, fun and humorous all at the same time. The women's stories are all different yet all report almost identically similar experiences and report with widely diverging attitudes.
It was like reading poetry - I was completely involved. I would have liked to have known what happened next, though.
It is an enjoyable read from the perspective of someone interested in experiences of Japanese people and recent modern history. If you want a good story then this isn't really a novel, but it does bring into mind the number of issues and concerns for this group of people...
The book leads up to an event in American History during WW2 about which I knew nothing but now will read further on the subject.
The ebook is a disaster though. At each new chapter, pages are missing or duplicated. Drove me nuts, a real shame. Maybe it was just my download though, no one else mentioned it?
The story was interesting but there was no engagement because no single character emerged with whom I could identify. In fact there were no characters at all just an anonymous 'We'
A very disappointing read.
This is a very special book.