Thursday, May 25th, 2006 • 2 Comments on Book Recommendation
My brain is fried and it’s not even the end of the week yet.
Until I can string sentences together in some sort of coherent fashion, let me point you to someone who does it far better than I ever will. When the Emperor Was Divine is a novel about a Japanese American family’s experiences during World War II. Like thousands of real Japanese Americans of the 1940s, Julie Otsuka’s fictional, unnamed family is forced to leave their home and possessions behind in California when they are sent to an internment (concentration) camp in Utah. They are held there for over three years and released after the war ends, but their war with identity and belonging is only just beginning.
The subject matter isn’t pretty, but Otsuka’s writing is poignant, lyrical and thought-provoking. This is a lean little novel (I read it in two hours last night), reminiscent of Hemingway in her spare use of details and incredible narrative voice. I recommend it.