The Buddha in the Attic

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The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka.

Definitely a book worth reading.

First of all, because it is only 129 pages long(!) and so the investment of time is not an issue, and thus you do not have the time to get tired of it.

Secondly, because you’ve never read a book written like this!  At least, I’m pretty sure of it.

The book is narrated by a chorus of voices.  The author’s chosen to write in this unique manner, not outlining any one character, but using the stories of hundreds of Japanese women immigrants who came to America in the early 1900s.  It is a work of fiction but she did draw her stories, in large part, from many historical sources.

It is a fascinating collection of “memoirs”, providing a window into the hearts and minds of the young women who took that boat ride from Japan to California in hopes of uniting with a husband who’d painted a rosy picture of the lives they’d lead, to their 1st nights as a wife, to the harsh realities of their situations, to the back-breaking work they were forced to do to survive, to motherhood, to isolation because of the war.

All of that packed into a book that can be read in one sitting!   And I am a sucker for cultural studies and this one keeps your interest peaked.

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