Kathy's Reviews > The Buddha in the Attic

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
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's review
Sep 04, 2011

it was amazing
Read from March 02 to 11, 2012

I highly recommend this wonderful book. Julie Otsuka manages to write this story of Japanese mail order brides and their subsequent internment with their families in camps during World War II entirely in the plural first-person "we." This is no literary gimmick, however; throughout, she is telling the story of a group experience, and the novel has a beautiful incantatory quality, like an epic lament. It also calls to attention the myriad ways in which different people experience and respond to the same events. No one person's story is told, so the strokes are always broad, but in some ways this gives us a richer, fuller picture of this time in our history than any individual's story ever could. The book is short enough to be read in a single sitting, and though I didn't read it that way myself, I think doing so could be an almost theatrical experience, a chance to shut out the world around us and be carried on the rocking motion of Otsuka's story for an afternoon.

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