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A New Book for You

Julie Otsuka’s second novel is a quiet and disquieting story of the Issei. Written in the first-person plural from the point of view of the picture brides who become wives and then mothers, The Buddha in the Attic begins with the uneasy journey across the ocean. We follow the women and girls (as young as the early teens) as they experience disappointment and heartbreak with only flashes of satisfaction and hope. All the time there is a sense of impending doom that will snatch all of them away — and of course it happens. The narrative structure allows for multiple and sometimes contrary impressions while providing a uniform voice. Consider the experience of the women on their first night with...

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