Friday, July 20, 2012

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
The writing in this slim novel is astounding. With precise and spare details, Julie Otsuka traces the lives of Japanese women who sailed to San Francisco as "picture brides" and the paths their lives took until WW II internment put them all back in the same boat, so to speak. While it won the 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Buddha in the Attic is not universally loved. There is no traditional plot line, narrative is nil and Otsuka uses the plural first person throughout. But I thought that the plural first person was poetic and had the effect of connecting the women's stories, rather than stripping them of their individualism. After reading this book, I immediately reread several passages, trying to see how the author did so much in so few pages.

Leatherby Libraries Call Number: McNaughton, 1st Floor McNaughton 
Review submitted by Dawn Bonker, Public relations writer Rating: Highly Recommended

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