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When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

When the Emperor Was Divine (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Julie Otsuka

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1,539944,773 (3.78)205
Title:When the Emperor Was Divine
Authors:Julie Otsuka
Info:Anchor (2003), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Own, Japan, Diaspora, America, Non-fiction

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When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (2002)


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English (92)  French (2)  English (94)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
The tone of When the Emperor Was Divine is passive, almost meditative, in its depiction of a Japanese American family's internment during World War II. The five short chapters shift the focal point of the story to different family members, with the shortest and strongest at the end. The last chapter, "The Confession", is jolting after the near lyrical prose of the rest of the book. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
Love, love, love this book. A sparingly written story about the Japanese internment camps of WWII. This book is very short but it packs a big story with it's brilliant use of words. I was especially touched by the last chapter. The book starts out with the mom reading the evacuation order stapled up all over town. I can't imagine having my life ripped out from under me. How would one endear such circumstances? Each family member tells a part of the story from their point of view. Anyone who is interested in WWII should read this book. This would be a great book club selection, the conversation topics are unlimited. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Mar 26, 2016 |
4.5 stars.
The writing style lends to the feelings of incredulity and despair the characters must feel as the events unfold around them. The reader is left feeling angry, and humiliated, and embarrassed, and sad, and Sorry ... so So Sorry. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 26, 2016 |
extremely moving. a delight. ( )
  mark-f-r-ritchie | Feb 19, 2016 |
Follows an unnamed Japanese woman, her son and daughter as they are part of the rounding up and internment of the Japanese population. They are sent to Utah. The father has already been arrested and is being held in New Mexico. Each segment of the book is told from the perspective of each member of the famiy.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
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This book is for my parents
and in memory of Toyoko H. Nozaka
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The sign had appeared overnight.
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Book description
On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her house, and matter-of-factly begins to pack her family's possessions. Like thousands of other Japanese Americans they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their homes and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert. In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells their story from five flawlessly realized points of view and conveys the exact emotional texture of the experience: the thin-walled barracks and barbed-wire fences, the omnipresent fear and loneliness, the unheralded feats of heroism. When the Emperor Was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as today's headlines. (0-385-72181-1)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385721811, Paperback)

A precise, understated gem of a first novel, Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine tells one Japanese American family's story of internment in a Utah enemy alien camp during World War II. We never learn the names of the young boy and girl who were forced to leave their Berkeley home in 1942 and spend over three years in a dusty, barren desert camp with their mother. Occasional, heavily censored letters arrive from their father, who had been taken from their house in his slippers by the FBI one night and was being held in New Mexico, his fate uncertain. But even after the war, when they have been reunited and are putting their stripped, vandalized house back together, the family can never regain its pre-war happiness. Broken by circumstance and prejudice, they will continue to pay, in large and small ways, for the shape of their eyes. When the Emperor Was Divine is written in deceptively tranquil prose, a distillation of injustice, anger, and poetry; a notable debut. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:49 -0400)

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Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any previously written--a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times.

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