Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

The Buddha in the Attic (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Julie Otsuka

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5681554,666 (3.77)211
Title:The Buddha in the Attic
Authors:Julie Otsuka
Info:Knopf (2011), Hardcover, 144 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned, Favorites

Work details

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (2011)

Recently added byleserats, PriPri77, MissMaru, threadnsong, booknerdkatie, private library, im_bib
  1. 50
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Anonymous user, SqueakyChu)
    Anonymous user: A sweet love story but an eye-opener about Japanese and Chinese Americans at the time of Pearl Harbor attack
  2. 00
    The Lost Daughter of Happiness by Geling Yan (Limelite)
    Limelite: Not about the Japanese immigration experience, but set in San Francisco in the late 19th C., this novel evokes Chinatown and the impact Chinese and Americans had on each other depicted in a tightly personal experience. Readers will find common themes -- racism, struggle, isloation -- as in Otsuka's novella.… (more)
  3. 00
    Ru by Kim Thúy (raidergirl3)
    raidergirl3: nonlinear short chapters, immigrant experience
  4. 00
    Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston (speedy74)
    speedy74: This book also provides information regarding the Japanese internment.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 211 mentions

English (139)  French (4)  German (4)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Piratical (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (155)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
This was breathtakingly beautiful; almost poetic in the way it was written. It was heartwrenching and made me very sad. I don't think there is a way for me to describe this book other than to say you must read it. You feel completely immersed in their world. You struggle with them, ache with (and for them). You worry for them.

This is a must read. ( )
  PriPri77 | Jun 23, 2016 |
The Buddha in the Attic –Otsuka
Audio performance by Samantha Quan and Carrington MacDuffie
3 stars

At first it was interesting; the use of collective narrative to tell the story of a group of Japanese mail order brides. The novelty wore off and it rapidly became tediously repetitious. The repetitious chorus was probably exaggerated in an audio format that made each repetitive sentence sound like a commercial sound bite. ‘One of us …blah,blah, blah. Some of us felt blah, blah,blah.’ I’m giving the book three stars because the life stories of these women were very interesting even if I did not enjoy the manner of Otsuka’s story telling.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
The Buddha in the Attic reads more like a prose poem than a novel. With the predominant theme of displacement running throughout, it is not the most lighthearted of reads. First the reader experiences the displacement of Japanese women making the uncertain voyage to America for arranged marriages, and then the displacement of entire Japanese American communities through their forced removal to internment camps during WWII. Not only does it remind the reader of a shameful moment in American history, but it also speaks to the difficulties immigrants face at any time. Short but strong work. ( )
  Matthew.Ducmanas | Mar 18, 2016 |
The aggregated voice of the "narrator" was interesting at first, but it got old after the first couple of chapters. No distinct characters or plot....it is the combined perspective of these women from their arrival in the US through their internment during World War 2. They had things in common and had individual personalities, characteristics and situations. True of any group of people. I did not find it a compelling read. ( )
  ValNewHope | Mar 5, 2016 |
Such a good book! The Buddha in the Attic is about Japanese picture brides coming to America in the years before WWII. It's told from all of their perspectives and experiences from the boat ride, seeing their husbands for the first time, having sex, having children, working and then what happens to them, their families, the lives they built after Pearl Harbor happened. I love how it was written no set characters and it shows the diversity of these women's experiences during this time. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
This passage may give a clue as to how Julie Otsuka's book is to be read. She calls it a novel. It is closely and carefully based on factual history/ies. There are novelistically vivid faces, scenes, glimpses, voices, each for a moment only, so you cannot linger anywhere or with anyone. Information is given, a good deal of it, in the most gracefully invisible manner; and history is told. Yet the book has neither a novel's immediacy of individual experience, nor the broad overview of history. The tone is often incantatory, and though the language is direct, unconvoluted, almost without metaphor, its true and very unusual merit lies, I think, in that indefinable quality we call poetry.....I am sorry that after it, in the last chapter, she suddenly changes her narrative mode and ceases to follow her group of women. The point of view changes radically and "we" suddenly are the whites: "The Japanese have disappeared from our town."
Narrated in the first-person plural, The Buddha in the Attic is a slight, but powerfully moving piece of prose. It tells the story of a group of Japanese mail-order brides, from their journey to America, through marriage, work, childbirth and motherhood, until they and their entire communities are rounded up at the beginning of the war....Some might find the plurality of voice troubling, suggesting that it does little to restore individual identities to those whom history has forgotten, but I would argue the opposite. A host of individual characters and experiences crystallise as families and communities take root
But the book’s plural voice is particularly effective at capturing their long, giddy conversations on the ship as they wonder if American men really grow hair on their chests, put ­pianos in their front parlors and dance “cheek to cheek all night long” with their lucky wives....But no story in the conventional sense ever develops, and no individuals emerge for more than a paragraph....Had we known them as full individuals — as real and diverse and distinct — we couldn’t have whisked them away to concentration camps in the desert. A great novel should shatter our preconceptions, not just lacquer them with sorrow.

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julie Otsukaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scholtz, KatjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported. And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them.

Barn's burnt down—
I can see the moon.

For Andy
First words
On the boat we were mostly virgins.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307700003, Hardcover)

Finalist for the 2011 National Book Award

Julie Otsuka’s long awaited follow-up to When the Emperor Was Divine (“To watch Emperor catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird” —The New York Times) is a tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as ‘picture brides’ nearly a century ago.

In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.

In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singularly spellbinding novel about the American dream. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Presents the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early twentieth-century San Francisco are marked by backbreaking migrant work, cultural struggles, children who reject their heritage, and the prospect of wartime internment.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 avail.
286 wanted
4 pay8 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.77)
1 13
2 28
2.5 9
3 135
3.5 53
4 215
4.5 37
5 115


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 106,722,958 books! | Top bar: Always visible