The Buddha In The Attic is the follow-up novel by Julie Otsuka's prize-winning novel "When The Emperor Was Divine". This novel tells the story of a group of young Japanese women brought over from their home country to San Francisco as what were known as picture brides, almost a century ago. Their lives are extraordinary; we meet them as they undertake the arduous journey by boat, getting to know each other and exchanging photographs of their husbands-to-be, apprehensive about a new life yet unknown. Their first nights as new wives to unfamiliar husbands are tumultuous and difficult. They are also required to undertake back-breaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women. They struggle to assimilate into a new culture, to give birth, and to raising children who ultimately reject the Japanese side of their heritage when Pearl Harbor is bombed and war ensues.
Julie Otsuka is an American-Asian artist who turned to fiction writing at the age of thirty. She has received many prestigious awards including the American Literary Association Alex Award. This novel was nominated for a National Book Award for Fiction and won the Langnum Prize for Fiction. Otsuka is praised for writing a prose that is almost like poetry and for writing words that fall like delicate brush strokes across the page - an ironic reference to her former career as an artist.