“Beautifully written -- even poetic -- novel about the experience of Japanese immigrant women/mail order brides in the 1920s and through the years.”Kerry M wrote this review Thursday, January 26, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An incandescent must read. A collective story told without a single point-of-view, but instead a feminine ethnic voice detailing the heartbreak of their lives. Stunning narrative told in definitive chapters: Come, Japanese!; First Nigh; Whitest; Babies: Children; Traitors; Disappearance. Kudos to the author, who also wrote When the Emperor Was Divine.”Sherry A wrote this review Sunday, January 22, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Japanese "picture bride".”Tsian Huang wrote this review Thursday, January 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Buddha In The Atticis a small book and different from a style of writing that I would usually lean to.
I opened it hoping for something similar to the picture brides from Honolulu
Instead, a Japanese narrator speaks in a "collective voice" and traces the picture
brides voyage and arrival, all the in betweens to the eventual prospect of internment.
There is no individual to follow but many instead.
Then an American narrator speaks collectively tracing the effects of the Japanese
no longer present in the city.
Probably not my favorite but interesting, none the less”
“This short book is not a novel with a plot, but a commentary on the suffering of Japanese women brought to California to become wives of Japanese men based on the exchange of photos. Their disillusionment and despair with their new life circumstances only becomes greater after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is written in a poetic way with single sentence references to the tribulations of individual women. ”Marvin S wrote this review Friday, January 13, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I didn't like the way this was written. I thought it was going to be about individual women, but it was all very vague and you didn't have any connection to the characters at all.”Dawn and KiKi wrote this review Friday, January 13, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A short novel on a very heart felt story of Japanese immigrants surviving the hardships of a new life in America, only to find themselves uprooted and sent to camps during the war. ”Robyn Y wrote this review Thursday, January 12, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Told in the third person, this tiny book has you holding your breathe from the minute the picture brides disembark the boats from Japan to their tentative beginnings in America to their years in internment camps. ”Northfield Librarian wrote this review Monday, January 9, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The cover says that it's a novel. It's so tiny, though, that I'd call it a novella, but not even really that. In my classroom we'd qualify such a work as a brainstorm, or what we call "seed ideas". The entire novel is written in the 3rd person plural narrative and follows a group of Japanese "picture brides" in the early 20th century. Not that it really follows them, for we never know exactly who the novel is about. It's strange to read a book without characters, where the characters are a collective people and share a collective experience. But that's not right, either. For the experiences of the women are all different and only in the various chapter headings does the author assimilate stories of their arrival in California, being young wives, mothers, and in the finale-- victims of the US government's internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII. I wholly expected not to like this, yet the writing was so damn beautiful. I'll give it 4 stars-- it really is an original work. I would have preferred, however, that Otsuka use her gorgeous chapters as (what's the word?) frontispieces to chapters that follow specific characters. If nothing else, the author has given herself thousands of stories to explore and develop in the future.
“This book examines the lives of girls who choose to leave their families and lives in Japan by marrying someone from America whom they only know by letter and photo. These girls travel by ship to America only to find the husbands they thought they were marrying were mostly in much worse straits than they portrayed in their letters. Many times even the photos were bogus. The girls have no choice but to make the best of their situation with these men they are legally married to. Then WWII begins and the families they have built are interred. The story is told in a very different way than anything else I've ever read. The narrator comes across as a dispassionate reporter even though it is written from the first person plural point of view.”SHARON M wrote this review Saturday, January 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No