Gorgeously written, this reads less like a novel than a set of essays on the immigrant experience. Narrated from a plural first-person perspective, The Buddha in the Attic
describes the experience of Japanese picture brides as they travel across the ocean in the early twentieth century to meet their new husbands in America. They labor in the fields of white men, learn scraps of English and give birth to children who grow up to deny their culture. As the book closes, they struggle to deal with the fallout of Pearl Harbor, the internment camps that so many of us forget about. Though I missed the presence of a definite narrative, Otsuka's lovely prose more than made up for it.