Book Club: 'The Buddha in the Attic'
Published on Friday, December 28, 2012 - 10:55am
The Buddha in the Attic is the tragic story of the extraordinary lives of "picture brides" from Japan to the United States. Traveling by boat in cramped, inhumane and unhygienic conditions, these migrants tell stories of hunger and poverty, love and secrets and of hope and imagination of uncertain futures in an unknown land.
The Southeast Book Club met on Dec. 18 for an engaging literary appreciation of this work of historical fiction. The members had a very passionate and exciting night discussing some of the book's themes such as the stoic nature of Japanese women and their decisions to be purchased as brides in order to obtain a better life, which later turned out to have severe.
A club member expressed feelings of regret at the way the Japanese were treated in their efforts to survive. It was everyone's opinion that the author used a mixture of prose, poetry and cultural heritage to provide the reader with a compelling read of a people's struggles for survival against all odds. The Buddha in the Attic gives the reader a vivid understanding of how the Japanese suffered as a people, how they couldn’t return home without being seen by their families as failures in America and how they were reduced to writing letters home filled with a life of fantasy. Like the book's narrators, everyone agreed that although there were some traitors amongst them in America at the time of World War II, a great majority were patriotic Americans who believed in themselves and hard work as a passage to the American dream.
The group next meets on Jan. 22 to discuss the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel.