The Buddha in the Attic (Rated: 18+)Product Type: Book
Review Rated: 13+
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Summary of this Book...
The Buddha in the Attic starts with a group of Japanese women in their early teens who were lied to and fooled by their future American, possibly Japanese-American husbands, with the promise of a better, richer life.
Suffering a difficult boat trip, the women arrive at San Francisco and find themselves in unpleasant conditions. After disappointing first nights as new wives, From California to Utah, they are pushed into menial jobs such as farm laborers, housemaids, laundry workers, and brothel people.
Most of them are mistreated by their husbands and taken for granted by other people and their own children. Just when they settle down and form their own communities and adapt to American life, World War II begins and they are led to camps.
The story is written in third person plural, which startled me from the beginning to the end of the book. Although the women are referred to as "we" in general, particular people, plenty of them, are mentioned in one or two sentences or small paragraphs.
The book is in eight sections of linked stories.
To tell the truth, I found this novel fascinating but terribly disturbing at the same time, partly because of its third-person plural viewpoint and its being purposefully understated. Thus the prose is daring and unique, and it shocked me as if being stabbed suddenly by a knife, followed by continuing stabbings.
This book is 2011 finalist for National Book Award in Fiction and winner of the 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award in Fiction.
Although I can see why these awards were given to this book, the reading of it was not one of pleasure but of
disturbance. Yet, I couldn't put it down because of its originality.
I especially liked...
learning the historical facts about Japanese women who were thrown in terrible conditions in such young ages, sometimes with the approval and urging of their families in Japan.
The author of this Book...
(according to her Amazon bio) 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. She lives in New York City.
I recommend this Book because...
It is a very different novel, historical as well as literary and emotion-provoking in a disturbing fashion. Still, it is not a book I would want to read for leisurely fun.
A good novel should have depth, moral argument, epiphany, drama, good writing, and good characters. This one does all that, if you consider the Japanese women who were forced to come to America as one inseparable character.
What it lacked for me was the enjoyment part or feeling satisfied that loose ends are tied up to the reader's (my) satisfaction.