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The Buddha in the Attic ePub Ë ebook ì johnscyclingdiary É [PDF / Epub] ★ The Buddha in the Attic Author Julie Otsuka – Johns-cycling-diary.co.uk Julie Otsuka’s long awaited follow up to When the Emperor Was Divine is a tour de force of economy and precision a novel that tells the story of a group oJulie Otsuka’s long awaited follow up to When the Emperor Was Divine is a tour de force of economy and precision a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century agoIn eight incantatory sections The Buddha in the After the first chapter of this book I thought I had hit upon a goldmine of a book and wondered how anyone dared to rate it less than 4 stars Otsuka draws the reader in by offering up a kaleidoscope of experiences by a flock of Japanese women clustered in the ship's steerage bound for California as mail order brides Lest you think this is a silly book It is not Here is what I likedOtsuka clearly has researched read her history of Japanese emigration interviewed obsessively to come up with detail words put in the women's mouths etcBy writing the book as she did with Some of us We etc the reader can't help identify with this large group of women; therefore offering the reader some scope of how much and how many of these women sufferedOtsuka does a wonderful job of spanning the extremes of the women's experience on the boat in California as new brides to men they didn't know working for White folks having children and ultimately imprisoned in camps during World War II The reader can't help gleaning the fact that each experienced these events differentlyNow the flip side Otsuka clearly has researched read her history of Japanese emigration interviewed obsessively to come up with detail words put in the women's mouths etcSometimes the book sounds like research rather than a novel It felt at times like the author didn't want to let go of a single detail While informative it became monotonous By writing the book as she did with Some of us We etc the reader can't help identify with this large group of women; therefore offering the reader some scope of how much and how many of these women sufferedThe method described above was great for the first chapter but then started sounding like a list being read I began to yearn to know what happened in just 3 4 of the ladies lives not a short sentence or two for each one particularly when there were so many people to tell about Which brings up another issue I never connected with any of these ladies since they were all intended to be representative of many ladies in similar situations Otsuka does a wonderful job of spanning the extremes of the women's experience on the boat in California as new brides to men they didn't know working for White folks having children and ultimately imprisoned in interment camps during World War II The reader can't help gleaning the fact that each experienced these events differentlyThis brings me to my conclusion I think if Otsuka would have stuck to her original chapter narrated as it is it would have been doubly powerful because the style loses steam as it goes i think this is why it is such a short book but it is still too long to maintain the method used If the remaining chapters could have been devoted to 3 4 ladies stories and then concluded with a short chapter in the same style as the first chapter from the outsiders view it would have been 5 star material IMHO25 stars

eBook Þ The Buddha in the Attic ë Julie Otsuka

Picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth and then as mothers raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of w “Because the only way to resist our husbands had taught us was by not resisting” ― Julie Otsuka The Buddha in the AtticI read entirely too much white male fiction I know this It is familiar and available Abundant even It is everywhere So I'm trying to reach beyond my normal boundaries Read minority voices listen to another story Otherwise what good is fiction?Julie Otsuka's little novella was uick It checks in at 124 pages or so But it sticks with you It carries you It doesn't have one narrator but a chorus of Japanese woman who immigrated to America in the early 20th century as mail order brides for Japanese laborers in California She follows this beautiful and tragic chorus of woman through a new country a new culture new husbands work loneliness work marriage work children work racism and eventually the FDR's Japanese Concentration Camps of WWII Executive Order 9066Newly married living in Utah I traveled to Delta Utah with my wife and walked around the Topaz War Relocation Center It was haunting The images of dust and isolation came back to me 25 years later as I read this book It was written in 2011 but seems to warn us against the fear we seem to always have of the other Mexicans Muslims Japanese blacks etc We cage them because we don't recognize they are us One of the lines that struck me the most from this short book was on page 124 It was the mayor of a California town speaking after the Japanese have been hauled away Some of the words however came from a speech by Donald Rumsfeld in October of 2001 before Guantanamo was a household word before kids in cages before black sites and waterboarding became associated with America There will be some things that people will see he tells us And there will be some things that people won't see These things happen And life goes onCertainly life will go on but Otsuka's haunting prose; her beautiful narrative mantras; the pulsing rhythm of her Japanese chorus of women; her FPP anonymous narrators will all haunt me for a long time Although a completely different book I was reminded several times while reading this novella of O'Brien's The Things They Carried

Julie Otsuka ë The Buddha in the Attic text

The Buddha in the AtticAttic traces the picture brides’ extraordinary lives from their arduous journey by boat where they exchange photographs of their husbands imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work In this slim delicate lyrical novel Julie Otsuka unflinchingly and confidently does something that really is not supposed to work for Western readers those bred in the culture of stark individualism and raised in a society where it's traditional to expect a bright spark of individuality shining through the grey masses After all it's the plight of one the uest of one the triumph of one that appeals to us naturally as individual and personal portrayals appeal to our innate sense of self make us connect in a way most of us do not when faced with a collective reflected uite well in every story every film every charity poster that brings out the individual behind the masses appeals to the personal spark inside of usBut to uote Terry Pratchett of course I would Personal's not the same as important People just think it isIn The Buddha in the Attic Julie Otsuka breaks the convention of bringing a personal individual story to the forefront Instead she chooses to focus on the collective set of experiences the collective story of a mass the voices of many On the boat we were mostly virgins We had long black hair and flat wide feet and we were not very tall Some of us had nothing but rice gruel as young girls and had slightly bowed legs and some of us were only fourteen years old and were still young girls ourselves Come Japanese That night our new husbands took us uickly They took us calmly They took us gently but firmly and without saying a word They assumed we were the virgins the matchmakers have promised them we were and they took us with exuisite care Now let me know if it hurts They took us flat on our backs on the bare floor of the Minute Motel They took us downtown in second rate rooms at the Kumamoto Inn They took us in the best hotels in San Francisco that a yellow man could set foot in at the time First NightThere is no traditional story no traditional plot no individual well defined and developed characters Instead there are only we the intertwined voices of many Japanese picture brides spanning the time between coming to America the land of promise in the 1920s until the relocation to the internment camps in the 1940s Because if our husbands had told us the truth in their letters they were not silk traders they were fruit pickers they did not live in large many roomed houses they lived in tents and in barns and out of doors in the fields beneath the sun and the stars we never would have come to America to do the work that no self respecting American would do Whenever we left J town and wandered through the broad clean streets of their cities we tried not to draw attention to ourselves We dressed like they did We walked like they did We made sure not to travel in large groups We made ourselves small for them If you stay in your place they'll leave you alone and did our best not to offend Still they gave us a hard time Whites No individual figures or stories ever appear; instead there are bits and pieces of everyone's fates weaving together in the tapestry of a common shared experience encompassing many strands of uniue potentialities that can create a true picture only when woven together the way single pencil strokes come together to create a breathtaking sketch Devoured in its entirety in a single sitting it reads almost like a poem in prose crisp and clear deceptive in its simplicity full of imagery that will stay to haunt you for a while Etsuko was given the name Esther by her teacher Mr Slater on her first day of school 'It's his mother's name' she explained To which we replied 'So is yours' The ChildrenThis book is not for you if you need a defined character to identify with when reading a story It is not for you if you looking for a clear traditional plot It is not for you if you need closure for the stories you read But if you are looking for the understated almost poetics in its lyricism narrative that does its best to unite the strands of individual experiences most of the time only frustratingly hinted at into a canvas meant to represent the experiences of a greater whole then you may have found a perfect little volume for you in this sparse but touching little novel 'A startled cat dove under a bed in one of our houses as looters began to break down the front door Curtains ripped Glass shattered Wedding dishes smashed to the floor And we knew it would only be a matter of time until all traces of us were gone Traitors And after a while we notice ourselves speaking of them and in the past tense Some days we forget they were ever with us although late at night they often surface unexpectedly in our dreams And in the morning when we wake try as might to hang on to them they do not linger long in our dreams All we know is that the Japanese are out there somewhere in one place or another and we shall probably not meet them again in this world A Disappearance