Friday, November 16, 2012
Friday Books: Buddha
Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka won the Pen/Faulkner Award for fiction. This is the story of girls who came by boat from Japan to California in the early part of the 1900s as "picture brides." They arrived in America to meet their "husbands" whom they had only seen in photographs and met via letters.
The book begins with the girls on the boat, wondering about the life they were heading toward and remembering what they had left behind in Japan. It follows the girls as a collective "we," telling their various stories simply and almost in list style. Most of them experience very hard lives, but persevere, swallow their emotions, and eke out a successful life for themselves.
Many face poverty and pain while others manage to find happiness despite prejudice, limited choices, and an incomprehensible culture surrounding them. This is a simple yet profound and beautiful book. Five of 5 stars.