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The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

The Buddha in the Attic

RRP £12.99

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The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

This title is winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction 2012 and Finalist for the 2011 National Book Award, and the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the women's 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 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; and, to the deracinating arrival of war. In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singularly spellbinding novel about the American dream.


Sweeping, symphonic, empathic ... subtle, infinitely skilful ... an exhilarating, compulsive read. Otsuka's haunting, heartbreaking conclusion, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, is faultless Daily Mail Paints a poignant, moving portrait of immigration by deftly weaving together a chorus of voices. Fascinating and tragic in equal measure Easy Living A tender, nuanced, empathetic exploration of the sorrows and consolations of a whole generation of women Telegraph A haunting and heartbreaking look at the immigrant experience ... Otsuka's keenly observed prose manages to capture whole histories in a sweep of gorgeous incantatory sentences Marie Claire Novels written in the first person plural are rare. It's a narrative device that gives The Buddha in the Attic a deliciously melancholy quality ... Powerful, lyrical and almost unbearably sad Psychologies Powerfully moving ... intensely lyrical ... verges on the edge of poetry Independent The tone is often incantatory, and though the language is direct, unconvoluted, almost without metaphor, its true and very unusual merit lies, I think, in that indefinable quality we call poetry -- Ursula Le Guin Guardian A kind of collective memoir that squeezes volumes of experience into a small space ... more than a history lesson because Otsuka compresses the individual emotions into one haunting story The Times Her trick is to sum up a few life story in a few tantalising sentences, moving on to the next at lightning speed. The result is panoramic, each line opening a window on to the world of one woman after another, pinpointing each one's hopes and happiness or misery and pain Sunday Express Intriguing ... fleeting, singular images pile up and reverberate against each other to strange, memorable effect Metro Spare but resonant, powerful, evocative The New York Times Book Review Spare and stunning ... Otsuka has created a tableau as intricate as the pen strokes her humble immigrant girls learned to use in letters to loved ones they'd never see again Oprah Magazine A delicate, heartbreaking portrait ... beautifully rendered ... Otsuka's prose is precise and rich with imagery. [Readers] will finish this exceptional book profoundly moved. Publishers Weekly An understated masterpiece... she conjures up the lost voices of a generation of Japanese American women without losing sight of the distinct experience of each... The Buddha in the Attic seems destined to endure San Francisco Chronicle This chorus of narrators speaks in a poetry that is both spare and passionate, sure to haunt even the most coldhearted among us Chicago Tribune A stunning feat of empathetic imagination and emotional compression, capturing the experience of thousands of women Vogue A lithe stunner Elle To watch Emperor catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird The New York Times on When the Emperor was Divine Already highly acclaimed in the US, it's a short novel, written with brutality and beauty. The Buddha in the Attic has the rare strength and poignancy that comes from telling an untold story Word

About the Author

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is the author of the novel When the Emperor Was Divine, and a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. Her second novel, The Buddha in the Attic, was nominated for the 2011 National Book Award. She lives in New York City.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th January 2012


Julie Otsuka

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Fig Tree an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd


144 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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