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The author of When the Emperor Was Divine presents the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early 20th century San Francisco are marked by backbreaking migrant work, cultural struggles, children who reject their heritage and the prospect of wartime internment. (historical fiction).
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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)
Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is the author of the novel When the 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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