The Buddha in the Attic – It’s What We’re Reading


A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.

A Buddha in the Attic The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka gives us a gift in this small, but very special novel.  Her short lines of prose are more like poetry, and when all of these short lines are taken together, they produce clear, vital, and beautiful images.  The novel presents the story of ‘Japanese picture brides’, who leave Japan and the harsh circumstances under which they live, to come to America in search of a better life.  It is the American story — but decades later it turns into a nightmare after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

These women, most of whom have tried so hard to assimilate into the American culture, suddenly live in fear as they hear of stories of deportation to Japanese internment camps. Julie Otsuka based some of her writing on historical narratives, and she divides the book into eight sections to show the struggle and triumph of these remarkable women, challenged in every conceivable way.  The book and their story is heartbreaking, uplifting, and unforgettable.

The Buddha in the Attic was the 2013 One Book One Philadelphia selection.

This book can be found in the Popular Reading collection on the first floor of the Library.