December 2016’s choice is…

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

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 of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as picture brides nearly a century ago.

In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where the girls 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 picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women in their homes; 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 deracination arrival of war.

In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singular spellbinding novel about the American dream.

Advertisements