The Buddha in the Attic review × eBook or Kindle ePUB

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The Buddha in the AtticEight incantatory sections The Buddha in the Attic traces the picture brides’ extraordinary lives from their arduous journey by boat where they exchange photographs of their husbands imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives to th. This novella has the most lyrical prose I've read in a long long time It begins on a boat in the early 1900s with dozens of young Japanese women who were being shipped to husbands in San Francisco to begin new lives The women didn't know it yet but they had been sold a bill of goods They had been promised that their husbands were successful handsome and rich and that they would love living in America but the truth is they would become migrant workers in California and that the women might have been better off staying home in Japan with their families The book gives a breathless kaleidoscopic account of the women's hopes and fears and the hard working lives for which they settledI will share the opening paragraph because I think it is gorgeous On the boat we were mostly virgins We had long black hair and flat wide feet and we were not very tall Some of us had eaten nothing but rice gruel as young girls and had slightly bowed legs and some of us were only fourteen years old and were still young girls ourselves Some of us came from the city and wore stylish city clothes but many of us came from the country and on the boat we wore the same old kimonos we'd been wearing for years faded hand me downs from our sisters that had been patched and redyed many times Some of us came from the mountains and had never before seen the sea except for in pictures and some of us were the daughters of fishermen who had been around the sea all our lives Perhaps we had lost a brother or father to the sea or a fiance or perhaps someone we loved had jumped into the water one unhappy morning and simply swum away and now it was time for us too to move onAnother section I loved is from the first chapter about where the women came from Some of us on the boat were from Kyoto and were delicate and fair and had lived our entire lives in darkened rooms at the back of the house Some of us were from Nara and prayed to our ancestors three times a day and swore we could still hear the temple bells ringing Some of us were from Hiroshima which would later explode and were lucky to be on the boat at all though of course we did not then know itAfter the sea voyage the stories progress to how the husbands treated their wives and the children that followed and the hard work they endured And US history being what it is we eventually arrive at the bombing of Pearl Harbor but I don't think that name was ever mentioned and the last 50 pages of the book show their shock at suddenly being labeled traitors and the fear mongering that persisted and by the end the Japanese have disappeared from the town I thought it was a nice touch that in her acknowledgments Otsuka admits having reappropriated some lines of dialogue from Donald Rumsfeld in 2001 and inserted them as the mayor in 1941 Same principles different warI hope I haven't made the book sound gloomy I actually found it inspiring and full of beauty and hope Would I have had the courage to sail off to a foreign land and a strange husband at such a young age I doubt it Update December 2013I reread this for book club and was still amazed at how beautiful the writing is Each sentence is its own little story and it's so rich and visual that I was utterly absorbed in the prose I highly recommend this and I'm excited to look up other books by OtsukaFirst read March 2012Second read December 2013

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The Buddha in the Attic review × eBook or Kindle ePUB Æ ✤ The Buddha in the Attic Download ➸ Author Julie Otsuka – Gym-apparel.co.uk Julie Otsuka’s long awaited follow up to When the Emperor Was Divine is a tour de force of economy and precision a novel that tells the story of a group of young women broughEir backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture to their experiences in childbirth and then as mothers raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history to the deracinating arrival of war. This short 100 page read felt to me like riding in a human river and feeling magically a part of it Otsuka enjoins the reader to flow with the voices of Japanese women from their sea passage to San Francisco as mail order brides in the 20s to the time of internment in camps during World War 2 Though the women voice many different responses to the challenges they faced they go through similar stages in the transformation of their hopes and dreams to the new realities of their life in America Otsuka’s placing of voices side by side while speaking in a communal “we” evokes a tribal plurality sometimes conjoining sometimes contrasting with the wonderful feel of conjuring the women into life by incantation With no characters or plot the book might be classified a prose poem I can almost see it used in poetry slam readings Or in a stage production But as the piece already the structures of harmonious and dissonant themes set into movements it would take a genius to get the music for a theater version just rightJust when the format of “we this” and “we that” starts to feel constraining a new chapter alights that opens the door to another fascinating realm And when you are prepared to follow the voices into the internment camps the book leads you instead into the perspective of people in the towns left wondering where the Japanese have gone to I will likely follow Otsuka into a story of the camp experience with her “When the Emperor was Divine”The best way to convey to potential readers whether they would like this book is to share her seven chapter titles with the two brief and artfully engaging lines she begins each with Come Japanese On the boat we were mostly virgins We had long black hair and flat wide feet and we were not very tall First NightThat night our husbands took us uickly They took us calmly WhitesWe settled on the edges of their towns when they would let us And when they would not—Do not let sundown find you in this county their signs sometimes said—we traveled on BabiesWe gave birth under oak trees in summer in 113 degree heat We gave birth beside woodstoves in one room shacks on the coldest nights of the year TraitorsThe rumors began to reach us on the second day of the war There was talk of a list Some people being taken away in the middle of the night Last DaySome of us left weeping And some of us left singing A few of us left drunk A DisappearanceThe Japanese have disappeared from our town Their houses are boarded up and empty now Many of these girls and women eventually adapted to their hard transition; some met with madness or death in childbirth or in other ways They struggled with work in cities and fields Most kept to themselves in separate communities such as the many Japantowns in cities But when their children went to American schools the loss of traditional ways in the melting pot was almost inevitable Having to bow to the internment was especially tragic for a people trying so hard to be American The book was a moving and wonderful window for me image error

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Julie Otsuka’s long in the MOBI #239 awaited follow up to When the Emperor Was Divine is a tour de force The Buddha eBook #196 of economy and precision a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Buddha in the eBook #10003 Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century agoIn. After the first chapter of this book I thought I had hit upon a goldmine of a book and wondered how anyone dared to rate it less than 4 stars Otsuka draws the reader in by offering up a kaleidoscope of experiences by a flock of Japanese women clustered in the ship's steerage bound for California as mail order brides Lest you think this is a silly book It is not Here is what I likedOtsuka clearly has researched read her history of Japanese emigration interviewed obsessively to come up with detail words put in the women's mouths etcBy writing the book as she did with Some of us We etc the reader can't help identify with this large group of women; therefore offering the reader some scope of how much and how many of these women sufferedOtsuka does a wonderful job of spanning the extremes of the women's experience on the boat in California as new brides to men they didn't know working for White folks having children and ultimately imprisoned in camps during World War II The reader can't help gleaning the fact that each experienced these events differentlyNow the flip side Otsuka clearly has researched read her history of Japanese emigration interviewed obsessively to come up with detail words put in the women's mouths etcSometimes the book sounds like research rather than a novel It felt at times like the author didn't want to let go of a single detail While informative it became monotonous By writing the book as she did with Some of us We etc the reader can't help identify with this large group of women; therefore offering the reader some scope of how much and how many of these women sufferedThe method described above was great for the first chapter but then started sounding like a list being read I began to yearn to know what happened in just 3 4 of the ladies lives not a short sentence or two for each one particularly when there were so many people to tell about Which brings up another issue I never connected with any of these ladies since they were all intended to be representative of many ladies in similar situations Otsuka does a wonderful job of spanning the extremes of the women's experience on the boat in California as new brides to men they didn't know working for White folks having children and ultimately imprisoned in interment camps during World War II The reader can't help gleaning the fact that each experienced these events differentlyThis brings me to my conclusion I think if Otsuka would have stuck to her original chapter narrated as it is it would have been doubly powerful because the style loses steam as it goes i think this is why it is such a short book but it is still too long to maintain the method used If the remaining chapters could have been devoted to 3 4 ladies stories and then concluded with a short chapter in the same style as the first chapter from the outsiders view it would have been 5 star material IMHO25 stars