Bernardsville Public Library’s book discussion group, Saturday Samplers, will meet on Saturday, February 1 at 3:30 pm to discuss two novels by Julie Otsuka, "When the Emperor was Divine" and "The Buddha in the Attic." [The author will not be present.]
"When the Emperor Was Divine" (2003) was Otsuka's first novel. It tells the story of a Japanese-American family's internment in a Utah enemy alien camp during World War II. The New Yorker review described it as "exceptional" and continued, "The implicit questions about culpability resonate with particular power right now, but Otsuka's incantatory, unsentimental prose is the book's greatest strength." Her follow-up novel, "The Buddha in the Attic" (2011) tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as "picture brides" nearly a century ago. Kirkus Reviews described the book as “A lovely prose poem that gives a bitter history lesson.”
Julie Otsuka was born and raised in California. She is a graduate of Yale University and received her M.F.A. from Columbia. She lives in New York City. She has received numerous awards including the Asian American Literary Award, the American Library Association Alex Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Led by Evelyn Fischel, Saturday Samplers is a book discussion group dedicated to sampling various kinds of literature, including short stories, nonfiction, new and old novels, and even teen fiction. Its goal is to search out interesting, noteworthy, and sometimes overlooked books. Readers can find information about the group and about the books and authors on the reading list at http://saturdaysamplers.blogspot.com. No sign-up is needed to join the discussion. Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.