کتاب امپراطور هراس

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The debut novel from the PEN/Faulkner Award Winning Author of The Buddha in the Attic

On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her home, and matter-of-factly begins to pack her familys possessions. Like thousands of other Japanese Americans they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their home and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert.

In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells their story from five flawlessly realized points of view and conveys the exact emotional texture of their experience: the thin-walled barracks and barbed-wire fences, the omnipresent fear and loneliness, the unheralded feats of heroism. When the Emperor Was Divine is a work of enormous power that makes a shameful episode of our history as immediate as todays headlines.


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Assuming you have read the book description, you already know this book’s theme is the treatment of Japanese during WW2 and Japanese internment camps in the USA. It is more a study of the psychological than factual treatment of Japanese. You will not get historical facts or precise, detailed descriptions of the camps. What you will learn is how the Japanese Americans felt and how their war experiences changed them. You will feel the discrimination they experienced.

This very short novel reads as a prose poem. Each sentence has more than one meaning. The writing is very straightforward and simple, except that you know without a doubt that what is being said is more than the straight forward, the obvious.

Here is one example. In school, when the children had returned home after the war they were asked, as all kids are asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And the reply? “I’d like to be you.” So little is said, but so much is meant. The words are so simple and yet they have a huge impact.

At the beginning the writing presents the characters in a detached manner. We are not even given the names of the mother, father and two children. They are spoken of as the girl, the boy, their father, the mother. I did not like this. I even thought this was perhaps a young adult novel. Were we being spared the grisly truths? However in the book, after the war, when the family was released from the internment camp and when the father was reunited with his family, that is when all the accusations and fears were shouted out. The contrast hits the reader like a slam in the face. When they returned to their old house and their old way of life, they are confronted with rampant discrimination. In the internment camps the barbed wire fences had separated them from it. The earlier detachment and now the honest truths were slammed up against each other. The author did this through her skill of composition. The tension you feel at the end is tremendous, the reader feels it all the more since so much has been suppressed in the earlier sections.

That I give such a short novel four stars is remarkable. It says something about the writer’s skill.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
Ero in biblioteca per riportare il Conte di Montecristo, ho fatto un giro tra gli scaffali e lo so, non dovevo, ma non ho resistito e lho preso ^^
Questo libro è un pugno nello stomaco. E anche se di poche pagine ho fatto fatica a @digerirlo@.
Lei è sempre delicata, e pungente nello scrivere. A me piace molto la sua scrittura, anche se ammetto che è particolare, e allinizio ci si deve fare un pò labitudine.
Mentre nello scorso libro abbiamo una visione corale (il libro è scritto sempre in prima persona plurale) qui si alternano i punti di vista di una famiglia composta da madre e due bambini, un maschietto e una feminuccia di 10\8 anni, il cui padre, una notte dopo Pearl Harbor, è stato portato via dallFBI. Il libro inizia con la lettura dellordine di evacuazione per tutti i giapponesi dalle città.
E straziante davvero leggere queste pagine che danno voce soprattutto ai pensieri dei due bambini. A come vedono e vivono quello che gli succede.
Straziante le ultime due pagine con il racconto del padre.
Non sappiamo come si chiamano. Ma non importa. E una storia che riflette la storia di molte famiglie.
In realtà sono tre stelle e mezzo. Non sono riuscita a dare le quattro stelle perchè anche se mi ha toccato molto, non mi ha rapito come lo scorso libro. Forse perchè mi ha dato sui nervi leggere la vera e cruda realtà. Queste storie mi fanno davvero arrabbiare. Possibile che luomo non impari mai?
Gli Americani hanno preso parte alla guerra per combattere contro Hitler e che fanno? fanno la stessa cosa in casa loro? Vi giuro sono inca...nera!
Da leggere per ricordare e non dimenticare.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
With already so many wonderful reviews -- Im going to just add one quote I thought about (something Jewish people often think about)

@You cant remember everything@, she said.
@And even if you can you shouldnt@, said the girl
@I wouldnt say that@, said her mother
@You didnt@, said the girl

note: Sometimes ....you find yourself reading a novel --its taking a lot of your concentration -- then you see a Goodreads friend post a beautiful review of a book you must read....(you might even own it, which was the case with me) ....
You feel so inspired --moved -
So why wait?
I didnt any longer --

Very Powerful -- touching - devastating!



مشاهده لینک اصلی
I am back for another taste of Julie Otsukas writing. Its another trim one! She certainly has the knack of saying much with brevity and skill- and making her point (s)!

************************************

Many books have been written about the outrageous internment of Japanese Americans during WW II. There have been respectable treatments of this topic, such as Farewell to Manzanar, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Snow Falling on Cedars, to name a few. Julie Otsuka had given us a taste of this situation in her more recent book, The Buddha in the Attic . In this earlier novel, the reader learns about a family, whose names are never divulged, but whom we get to know well, from the period prior of their @exile@ to their return home.

Otsuka has applied her unique, lyrical style to the telling of this tale. With spare elegance she conveys the indignities, the unconscionable treatments and the sense of total loss and despair that is felt by the victims of the internment. The attitudes of the general public, the government, neighbors and purported friends are all shockingly revealed. The fact that she is able achieve this so well in her slim offerings and also evoke emotional responses, such as tears, is admirable and a wonderment.

I eagerly look forward to reading future books written by this unique and gifted author.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
As I was pondering what to write about this slim, impressionistic book about Americas internment of Japanese, including citizens, the leading candidate for one of the two major parties in the United States praised that painful and wrong-headed moment in our history. It is astonishing to me that anyone can think it acceptable for the national government to take any action on the basis of race or religion, and Julie Otsukas book is a primer, not just on the venality but on the ineffectiveness of such projects. First is the wreckage suffered by a whole group, loss of job, family, opportunity, possessions. Second, is the disrespect--it is worth noting that a Japanese American unit was the most decorated, controlling for length of service and size, of any American military group in history; among its many accomplishments was saving the Lost Brigade surrounded by Germans. (Lest anyone think that the analogy to the current debate breaks down here, I have volunteered in refugee services, where I met Iraqis who lost their homes and their homeland and even saw members of their families murdered, all because they helped the American cause in their country). Then there is the loss to the nation, because of so many whose contribution was forfeited (though, Otsuka argues, individual Americans profited by seizing property from the absent Japanese). All of this Otsuka makes powerfully human not through a conventional narration, but through skillfully interwoven stories of nameless but individualized characters. Perhaps the most devastating part is the ending, a confession to all the national security offenses of which the Japanese were accused but that in fact none of them even thought of doing.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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