Nominated by:

San José Public Library, USA

Cleveland Public Library, USA

Milwaukee Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Alfred A. Knopf, USA

The Buddha in the Attic

Julie Otsuka    

2013 Shortlist

A gorgeous novel by the celebrated author of When the Emperor Was Divine that tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” nearly a century ago. In eight unforgettable sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the extraordinary lives of these women, from their arduous journeys by boat, to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; from their experiences raising children who would later reject their culture and language, to the deracinating arrival of war. Once again, Julie Otsuka has written a spellbinding novel about identity and loyalty, and what it means to be an American in uncertain times.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is the author of the novel When the Emperor Was Divine and a recipient of the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction and a National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. She lives in New York City.

Librarians’ Comments

The collective portrait of “picture brides” who came to the United States full of promise and hope is powerful and lyric in the skilled hands of Ms. Otsuka.

Japanese mail order brides tell of coming to America in the early 1900s to marry men they’ve never met. Full of emotion, readers are pulled into this exquisitely described world.

Written in a unique style, this short book expresses the experiences and emotions of Japanese mail order brides in California a hundred years ago.

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