The Buddha in the Attic – Julie Otsuka

The Buddha in the Attic received the 2012 PEN / Faulkner Award for Fiction and became highly popular. The subject, as you can read below, is exciting and thought-provoking.


But I have to say; this is not for everyone; it is too saddening. I read the book in a sitting and did not even move except while turning pages. The more you connect to the book, the more significant the effect.

The Buddha in the Attic begins with desperate Japanese women embarking on a cruise to America to find a cure for their desperation. The dreams and hopes of them all depend on their young and handsome Japanese husbands, whose photos they have in their hands. The things they see when they get off the ship is very different from both their dreams and the photographs.

The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka

A Japanese can live on a teaspoonful of rice a day. We were the best breed of worker they had ever hired in their lives.

The Buddha in the Attic – Julie Otsuka

I can’t tell how fast the story develops after that. All of a sudden, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a fierce and robust storm. Then, of course, no matter how angry and frustrated you feel, you keep reading the book.

Desperately, when you read the last page of the book, you curse to humanity once again. You read the ordeal of the world from the books and hopefully become a better person. Please read this book and please watch your nerves.

About the book: The Buddha in the Attic

Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic, the follow-up to When the Emperor Was Divine was shortlisted for the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of the Pen Faulkner Award for Fiction 2012.

Between the first and second world wars a group of young, non-English-so speaking Japanese women travelled by boat to America. They were picture brides, so clutching photos of husbands-to-be whom they had yet to meet. Julie Otsuka tells their extraordinary, heartbreaking story in this spellbinding and however poetic account of strangers lost and alone in a new and deeply foreign land.


About the author: Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka is an award-winning Japanese American author. Otsuka is known for her historical fiction novels dealing with Japanese Americans. Her books are known for calling attention to the plight of Japanese Americans throughout World War II.

The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Japanese Literature – A Literary Journey

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