The Buddha in the Attic

The Buddha in the Attic

Audiobook CD - 2011
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In six sections, this novel traces their new lives as "icture brides": the arduous voyage by boat, where the girls trade photos of their husbands and imagine uncertain futures in an unknown land ... their arrival in San Francisco and the tremulous first nights with their new husbands, backbreaking toil as migrant workers in the fields and in the homes of white women ... the struggle to learn a new language and culture, giving birth and raising children who come to reject their heritage, and, finally, the arrival of war, and the agonizing prospect of their internment.
Publisher: [New York] : Random House Audio, p2011
ISBN: 9780307940735
030794073X
Characteristics: 4 sound discs (6 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Buddha in the attic : a novel

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IV27HUjg
Sep 06, 2014

After reading other accounts of this time period & subject I was a bit disappointed with the book. If this read moves one to do further study of the issue, I say well done.

BarbM1262 Oct 16, 2013

In the Early Part of the 20th century young girls from Japan are arriving in SF as picture brides.

librarylizzard Dec 27, 2012

I don't read much historical fiction but I did enjoy this book. It's not so much a traditional "story" as an almost stream-of-consciousness recounting of the experiences of various Japanese women immigrants. While I can understand why those looking for deep emotional attachments to characters might be disappointed I felt that I took away a lot from this book because it included so many viewpoints about the women in their various marital, social, and emotional situations. Also a fairly quick listen as an audiobook.

bnotash70 Oct 07, 2012

Sad. Mail order Japanese wives sent from Japan to America and after practically being slaves, got interred into American concentration camps after Pearl Harbor

o
outside_grrl
Sep 15, 2012

If you read to get to know characters, see them develop, understand them, get in their heads, this "novel" will be a disappointment. "Characters" are never more than one-line descriptions, e.g. "One of us gave birth to 9 children in 12 years" or "Some of us came from the city, and wore stylish city clothes, but many more of us came from the country and on the boat we wore the same old kimonos we'd been wearing for years."
Characters never are described deeper or with more detail than that.
Huge disappointment.

Note, the problem is not that it's first person plural. "And then We Came to the End" and "Virgin Suicides" are also first person plural. But characters do develop in those novels, you do get to know them and get inside their heads to some degree and see how they respond.

To say the characters in "The Buddha in the Attic" are flat or not well developed is an understatement.

j
JudithE
Nov 06, 2011

I found the multiple-person combined account a bit hard to take in at first, but I came to find it interesting and to see the value of the approach (i.e. the range of reactions to each event). I was disappointed with the change of the account from the experiences of Japanese women to the thoughts of the white people left behind when they were sent off to internment. I was expecting the accounts to continue with the women's descriptions of internment and of post-internment -- where they ended up in the first place, and what they decided to do after, and whether they returned to the coast or decided not to go back. And an ending chapter on reparations would have been nice!

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