The Buddha in the attic
Julie Otsuka has written a sparse, but powerful novel following a group of young women brought from Japan to America as mail-order brides in the early twentieth century. Written in the plural first person, the hardships faced by these women are described in poetic detail. From their travel to a new land and husbands they had never met, the backbreaking work as farmers and housekeepers isolated by the language and culture, and their forced internment during the Second World War, Otsuka succeeds in bringing this dark period of history to life. Book clubs would find much to discuss in this slim, thought provoking novel.