The Buddha in the Attic: Book summary and reviews of The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

The Buddha in the Attic

A Novel

By Julie Otsuka

The Buddha in the Attic
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Aug 2011,
    160 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A tour de force about a group of women brought from Japan to San Francisco in the early 1900s as mail-order brides.

In six sections, the novel traces their new lives as "picture brides": the arduous voyage by boat, where the girls trade photos of their husbands and imagine uncertain futures in an unknown land... their arrival in San Francisco and the tremulous first nights with their new husbands... backbreaking toil as migrant workers in the fields and in the homes of white women... the struggle to learn a new language and culture... giving birth and raising children who come to reject their heritage... and, finally, the arrival of war, and the agonizing prospect of their internment.

Once again Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"A lovely prose poem that gives a bitter history lesson." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. Each section is beautifully rendered, a delicate amalgam of contrasting and complementary experiences.... Otsuka's prose is precise and rich with imagery." - Publishers Weekly

The information about The Buddha in the Attic shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Kathryn K
Amazing Book
The Buddha in the Attic, is quite unique and an amazing read! Although, I must immediately add that it cries out to be read out loud! It's the first novel I have read in a long time that is written in poetic form. It tells the of Japanese women who came to America as "picture brides" and tells the challenges they faced.

As a selection for my book club, I was very discouraged as I was unable to read,due some short term vision problems. My husband read It to me! He has the voice and the book took my breath away! The discussion was lively and it made a made our top favorite list. Having my husband come to read a few pages, was a special treat!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Louise J
Stunning Novel
This wonderful, captivating novel reads almost like a documentary and would, in fact, make for great t.v. viewing...An excellent novel!!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Sheryl Royer
Beautifully conceived and written
This book grabbed me within the first few sentences and will not let me go! It is unique in every way, from the first person plural perspective from which it is written, to the subject on which it is based, to the beautifully poetically crafted sentences of which it is comprised. It is the story of Japanese women brought to the US before WW II to be brides to Japanese immigrant men they did not know. It is not one story, but dozens. Yet it is succinct, easy to read, and compelling. It always amazes me when a writer finds yet another unique way to tell a unique story and Julie Otsuka certainly has in this book. I've not read her books before, but I will now eagerly seek them out.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Dorothy T.
A novel approach
This book is called a novel, but seems like a documentary. It has no main character, yet it feels like there is one. There is no plot, but it is a story that moves to a climax and a conclusion, and moves the reader's emotions with it. I know this review may seem enigmatic, but I encourage you to give this little book a try as the author seeks to give a voice to an unsung group of women in California history.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Julie Otsuka Author Biography

Photo: Jerry Bauer

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is a graduate of Yale University and received her M.F.A. from Columbia. She is the author of the novels When the Emperor was Divine and The Buddha in the Attic and a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. She lives in New York City.

Author Interview

Other books by Julie Otsuka at BookBrowse
  • When The Emperor was Divine jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.