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Adventurous,
Interesting,
Slow

5 reviews

When the Emperor Was Divine
by Julie Otsuka

Published: 2003-10-14
Paperback : 160 pages
6 members reading this now
16 clubs reading this now
7 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 5 members
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 family's possessions. Like thousands of other ...
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Introduction

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 family's 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 today's headlines.

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Book Club Recommendations

not great for discussion
by jlurz43 (see profile) 02/26/12
This book was a very short read and did not have much substance for a lively discussion. The story was interesting and something I believe most Americans do not know about or forget about.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Short but Amazing Read"by BookDivasReads (see profile) 05/09/14

This was an amazingly fast read for me and my fellow book group members, yet the author was able to pack a powerful punch with her brevity. The writing style may be sparse and at times rather dark due... (read more)

 
  "When the Emperor was Divine"by vernandglen (see profile) 05/08/14

Overall I enjoyed the book, but felt that it was written like a newspaper article and not as enjoyable as it could have been

 
  "When The Emperor Was Divine, Julie Otsuka"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 04/19/13

Just as the first chapter sets the stage for this brief but moving, heartbreaking novel, as the unnamed woman and her family prepare for an unknown journey into an unknowable future, the rea... (read more)

 
  "quick read"by jlurz43 (see profile) 02/26/12

This book was a very quick read.

 
  "When the Emperor was Divine"by linnapoos (see profile) 02/08/10

The problem I had with this book was that I felt it was a very long introduction...to the actual book. I kept wondering, "When is the story going to start?" I found it tedious to read and felt no connection... (read more)

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