A Slim but Powerful New Book Breaks Hearts

"The Buddha in the Attic," by Julie Otsuka

the buddha in the attic!

We loved Julie Otsuka’s second novel, The Buddha in the Attic.

We loved it with our whole heart. We loved that she wrote in first person plural. It gave the book a lyrical, mesmerizing quality. We loved that it was as delicate and slim as some of the Japanese brides who traveled by boat to San Francisco to be married nearly a century ago.

We read it in bed. We read it by the pool. We read it in the morning. We read it in the evening. We read it when we should have been working. When we should have been sleeping. One of us read it all in one sitting.

We laughed at the beginning, when the women wondered what Americans would smell like and how hairy they would be. We felt their fear of the unknown. We pored over their letters home. We attended their births — and the death of a baby. Toward the end, we cried when the whole lot was sent to internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Some of us finished the book and started over. All of us think you should read it.

Available online at amazon.com, $12.

Photo: Courtesy of Random House