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The Buddha in the Attic (Pen/Faulkner Award - Fiction)

Otsuka, Julie

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Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction
National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book

A gorgeous novel by the celebrated author of When the Emperor Was Divine that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago. In eight unforgettable sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the extraordinary lives of these women, from their arduous journeys by boat, to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; from their experiences raising children who would later reject their culture and language, to the deracinating arrival of war. Once again, Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.

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Review:

Sweeping, symphonic, empathic . . . subtle, infinitely skilful . . . an exhilarating, compulsive read. Otsuka's haunting, heartbreaking conclusion, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, is faultless ( Daily Mail)

Paints a poignant, moving portrait of immigration by deftly weaving together a chorus of voices. Fascinating and tragic in equal measure ( Easy Living)

A tender, nuanced, empathetic exploration of the sorrows and consolations of a whole generation of women ( Telegraph)

A haunting and heartbreaking look at the immigrant experience . . . Otsuka's keenly observed prose manages to capture whole histories in a sweep of gorgeous incantatory sentences ( Marie Claire)

Novels written in the first person plural are rare. It's a narrative device that gives The Buddha in the Attic a deliciously melancholy quality . . . Powerful, lyrical and almost unbearably sad ( Psychologies)

Powerfully moving . . . intensely lyrical . . . verges on the edge of poetry ( Independent)

The tone is often incantatory, and though the language is direct, unconvoluted, almost without metaphor, its true and very unusual merit lies, I think, in that indefinable quality we call poetry (Ursula Le Guin Guardian)

A kind of collective memoir that squeezes volumes of experience into a small space . . . more than a history lesson because Otsuka compresses the individual emotions into one haunting story ( The Times)

Her trick is to sum up a few life story in a few tantalising sentences, moving on to the next at lightning speed. The result is panoramic, each line opening a window on to the world of one woman after another, pinpointing each one's hopes and happiness or misery and pain ( Sunday Express)

Intriguing . . . fleeting, singular images pile up and reverberate against each other to strange, memorable effect ( Metro)

Spare but resonant, powerful, evocative ( The New York Times Book Review)

Spare and stunning . . . 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 ( Oprah Magazine)

A delicate, heartbreaking portrait . . . beautifully rendered . . . Otsuka's prose is precise and rich with imagery. [Readers] will finish this exceptional book profoundly moved. ( Publishers Weekly)

This chorus of narrators speaks in a poetry that is both spare and passionate, sure to haunt even the most coldhearted among us ( Chicago Tribune)

A stunning feat of empathetic imagination and emotional compression, capturing the experience of thousands of women ( Vogue)

A lithe stunner ( Elle)

To watch Emperor catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird ( The New York Times on When the Emperor was Divine)

About the Author:

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is the author of the novel When t he Emperor Was Divine, and a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. Her second novel, The Buddha in the Attic, was nominated for the 2011 National Book Award. She lives in New York City.

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Book Description Anchor, 2012. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Finalist for the 2011 National Book Award in Fiction "Exquisitely written. . . . An understated masterpiecethat 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 sketchesand 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." -. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0307744426

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