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When the Emperor Was Divine

A Novel
Otsuka, Julie (Book - 2002 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
When the Emperor Was Divine


Item Details

Julie Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination--both physical and emotional--of a generation of Japanese Americans. In five chapters, each flawlessly executed from a different point of view--the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family's return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after more than four years in captivity--she has created a small tour de force, a novel of unrelenting economy and suppressed emotion. Spare, intimate, arrestingly understated,When the Emperor Was Divineis a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times. It heralds the arrival of a singularly gifted new novelist.
Authors: Otsuka, Julie, 1962-
Title: When the emperor was divine
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Knopf :, Distributed by Random House,, 2002
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 141 p. ;,19 cm
ISBN: 0375414290
Branch Call Number: FICTION Ots
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Report This Mar 04, 2014
  • uncommonreader rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A slim volume about the Japanese internment during WW II. Well done but not exceptional.

Report This Feb 21, 2014
  • coastalkate rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Best book I read in 2013. Better than her Buddha's in the Attic. Her style in this one perfectly tells the story - well crafted and well written.

Report This Jan 29, 2014
  • lmcshane rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I woud recommend this as high school reading - especially to give sense of xenophobia at the time. Otsuka's writing style is very much like Raymond Carver's - spare.

Report This Aug 02, 2013
  • Krull14 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Really compelling book about hardship. I wish it had gone in to a little more detail, as it seemed to skip some details.

Report This Feb 27, 2013
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very good read. I enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book for all to read.

Report This Dec 18, 2011
  • pokano rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Powerful story of a Japanese/Japanese American family torn apart during World War II. Julie Otsuka's story is all the more poignant and desolate because none of the family has names.

Report This Sep 30, 2011
  • floy rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a short easy-to-read novel that packs a powerful punch. The chapters start out with simple words and short sentences but evolves into more complexity. I know many internees preferred not to talk about their internment during WWII so I understood some people's tendency toward silence. The ending was all the more intense because of that history. It's an important book about a part of American history that should never be forgotten.

Report This Mar 03, 2011
  • jgi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent! A unique look at a somewhat different perspective than the usual novels about this time and circumstance in history. I read through very quickly!

This book was the 2006 selection for Silicon Valley Reads

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Report This Feb 27, 2013
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, and professionals built the Titanic.” -Anonymous

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