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The Buddha in the Attic

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Otsuka, Julie(2011)
The Buddha in the Attic

He’s a tiny brass laughing Buddha, left up there by a young Japanese woman. Recently arrived, no doubt still stunned at the harsh realities suddenly swamping shipboard dreams of mere days ago; she is a “picture bride,” one of a group come to join men who have courted with outdated photos and promises of wealth and ease. As for most of her fellow brides arriving in San Francisco in the 1920s, reality dawns upon first sight of the waiting grooms. The fortunate reader is, then, in for an emotional tidal wave as Otsuka rips these women’s story out of them using a 3rd-person plural narrator with devastating, possibly historic, literary effect.

Reviewed by Jim B., Main Library

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