Aaron Records's Reviews > The Buddha in the Attic

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
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's review
Jun 05, 2012

really liked it

This book just makes me think of human suffering as a whole. I find it hard to read books about Japanese suffering without thinking of books about how the Japanese caused suffering. There are always two sides, multiple perspectives, and Otsuka demostrates this well by using first person plural yet interjecting first person singular phrases in italics. But, on the whole, this book only serves as the Japanese-American perspective of events, with the small fragments of other American perspectives. In this way, I find her novel as an emotional journey, not as a work that should be viewed as comprehensive of the events of WW II or the decision for internment camps.

There are often jabs at other races within the text, and in particular Chinese. I would have appreciated a less specific look at coming to America, perhaps switching off the Japanese POV to see how other workers in the fields felt. On the overall, I think I wish the book were expanded upon because it leaves me with questions, but if this is Otsuka's aim (alongside being a prequel) I am indeed content with this work.

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