Eileen Souza's Reviews > The Buddha in the Attic

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
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's review
Mar 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: asia, japan, north-america, world-war
Read from February 28 to March 03, 2012

This was a really unusual book - I can't quite figure out if it was a novella, or a novel. The prose was told from the "we" plural, and was absolutely sparse in detail. Each sentence was like a a paragraph of information, and ask such, I learned a lot in a little book (129 pgs) and some sentences packed a powerful punch.

For example, this was a part of a standard paragraph in the book:
"On the boat, we carried our husbands' pictures in tiny oval lockets that hung on long chains from our necks. We carried them in silk purses and old tea tins and red lacquer boxes and in the thick brown envelopes from America in which they had been originally sent. We carried them in the sleeves of our kimonos, which we touched often, just to make sure that they were still there."

It was incredibly sparse, and yet not at all dry. There was emotion, and it was able to tell the story of many related relationships without telling the story of each individual person. In many ways it was masterful.

I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I wish it had talked about the camps and the return after WWII. I felt like it left off right at the pinnacle. It was a very quick read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't want it to end.

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