For 2013 One Book One Philadelphia has selected Buddha in the Attic by Japanese-American author, Julie Otsuka. The story is an amalgamation of various Japanese picture brides coming to the United States in the early part of the 20th century. Told in the collective perspective, the novel captures a broad swath of feeling – from the anticipation and hardship of the boat jorney to the shock of a new land with new customs, and culminating with the Japanese internment experience during WWII.
Coming in at a brief 129 pages, Otsuka manages to convey the complex realities of life by sharing snippets of stories covering the same themes. Deftly moving from perspective to perspective, Buddha in the Attic is a quick but moving read.
Over the course of the program (January – March), JASGP will be posting suggestions for additional reading and covering some of the tangential topics in more detail. Check back with us and enjoy this powerful novel.