- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka is an eloquent and beautiful novel depicting the lives of "picture brides," young Japanese mail order brides who came to California early in the twentieth century. The author uses a unique, lyrical first person plural voice throughout most of the book. "We sometimes lay awake for hours." "Secretly we hoped to be rescued." Seldom are personal names used and yet the author skillfully conveys the variety of experiences and emotions that these nameless women encounter. Some are only children, no more than fourteen, when they arrive. They find love, but not always with their husbands. They become mothers, raise and bury children, work hard, and build very different lives from the ones they left behind. Otsuka follows them as their children grow up and adopt American customs, forgetting the Japanese ways their mothers cling to. Finally the author revisits the time and place of her previous novel, When the Emperor Was Divine, as she follows them into the dark days of World War II when their lives were uprooted once again. It is a moving, haunting portrait of first generation Japanese American women. This title is also available as an audiobook and a downloadable ebook.