The Buddha In The Attic By Julie Otsuka

Title : The Buddha In The Attic

Author : Julie Otsuka

Context : The Buddha In The Attic (2011) is a gorgeous historical fiction novel set in the United States, during the early 1900s. The novel tells the tale of a group of young women who were brought as ‘Japanese picture brides’ to San Francisco from Japan, around a hundred years ago. The author has developed a literary style in the novel that is half narration, half poetry, sparse description, short phrases in a way that through each of the chapters, the current of emotions running through are made more vibrant and full-bodied by her restraint.

Synopsis : During the early 1900s, the Japanese picture brides immigrated to the United States. The novel divided into eight unforgettable sections uncovers the extraordinary life of the ‘picture brides’ right from their extraordinary life, their laborious journeys by boat right, the exchanging photographs of their husbands, imagining their uncertain future in a land which was completely new for them and to the time they reach San Francisco.

The novel talks about the experiences of bringing up children, their quavering first nights as new wives, scrubbing floors in the homes of white women, the backbreaking tasks of picking fruits in the fields, their experiences of giving birth to children, life as mothers, bringing up children who reject their history and heritage finally, the struggle in learning a new language, the non-acceptance of their new language and culture by the children, till the extirpating arrival of the war.

Julie Otsuka has presented a spellbinding novel about not just loyalty and identity, but also in unsettled times what it means to be an American.

Other works by the Author :

2002 – When the Emperor was Divine

Diem Perdidi – (A short Story that follows the scattered memories of the mother or a protagonist as the dementia of her mother progresses)