When the Emperor Was Divine

When the Emperor Was Divine

by Julie Otsuka
3.7 76

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Overview

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307430212
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/18/2007
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 84,760
File size: 513 KB

About the Author

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.

Hometown:

New York, New York

Date of Birth:

May 15, 1962

Place of Birth:

Palo Alto, California

Education:

B.A., Yale University, 1984; M.F.A., Columbia University, 1999

Customer Reviews

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When the Emperor Was Divine 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
brookie11037 More than 1 year ago
"When the Emperor Was Divine" by Julie Otsuka is a non-fiction story about a Japenese family during WW2 whose father was taken from their California home and they were sent to an internment camp in Utah. It is a story of their struggles and everything they had to endure. A huge message through out the book is being postive and finding the good in things even when times are hard. Having and learning acceptance and tolerence toward everyone is the main theme through out this book. Although the family is stuck in an internment camp they still try to be postive and make the best of it. The only thing in the book I did not like was that the characters did not have names. I really enjoyed reading "When the Emperor Was Divine" because I learned a lot and it was extremly interesting. If you are interested in the World War 2 time period you should definetly read this book.
gmanpma More than 1 year ago
A very troubling look at a time in our past. You will carry this around inside for a good while.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was incrediblly disappointed in this book. To me this book was a skeleton, or better yet a shell. A beautiful shell that could have been filled with so much more. I wanted the book to delve deeper into the lives of this family in the internment camps. What stories did they hear, who was the girl hanging around with and why? Stories like how she scraped her knee or what did the neighbors fight about? But the most disappointing part of this is that the author had a wonderful chance to have a second part of the book. What the father went through. But the book just ends on his confession. What a misses opportunity! It would have made for a compelling part two.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel shows a great side to the Japanese internment camps during World War Two while following the story of one family. The Japanese Americans were sent to camps because of fear of spies after Pearl Harbor, The story will follow you and it certainly will stay with me. There are several unsettling moments in the book, like the scene with White Dog on page 11. The family is sent to a barracks in the Utah desert and has to suffer through their life their. This book enlightened me to a different side of the war and it¿s an eye-opening book. The only thing that surprised me was the second to last chapter which starts on page 140 where the entire tone of the book flip flops and becomes much more direct. I never really knew much about the Japanese internment camps and we didn¿t cover much of that subject in history, this book allowed me to see what actually happened to the Japanese-Americans. With the help of this book and photos we looked at in class, I found myself becoming more and more angry at how we acted so irrationally during a time of panic. A great book for anyone who would like a new insight on the internment camps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This little book is one of the most powerful I have ever read. There is not an extraneous word in it. I felt like I held my breath through the first four chapters -- and when I started into the fifth, I cried through every word. I am buying this book for each of my adult children. I am not sure they were ever taught anything in school about this dreadful, shameful episode in our history. They need to know, and this book will show them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite possible the worst book I've ever read. This book only sells because English teachers love to make their students lives awful. The story has no plot whatsoever, and I don't recommend reading it at all. This book sucks. 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were good and bad parts in it. I did not like the killing of the dog or those condintions. Since I am a history geek I liked all the historical aspects. If you are a history geek or a normal history lover, I recomend it. Just have your tissues ready! (not kidding either!)
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Highly reccomend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, quick easy read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What evil lurks inside the heart of our nation? This book is gentle sledgehammer, a beautiful nightmare, a gift you want to give back but can't. I understand it is required reading in many 21st century schools. Boomers, catch up with the kids and read this book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book follows the hardships forced upon Japanese Americans without excessively ridiculing or shaming. Nice read.