This little novel is the story of a Japanese-American family who suffers forced internment during World War II.
Otsuka does a wonderful job of helping the reader understand what it was like for these people, who felt so torn between love for their adopted homeland and their heritage. I especially liked the different perspectives of parents and children.
Can you imagine feeling the need to deny your heritage? Being asked “what kind of ‘ese’ are you?” and saying “Chinese” because you don’t want to be looked down upon. Can you imagine being forced to leave your home and your possessions, knowing full well, that all will not be as you left it when you returned? If you returned? Can you imagine, after the war, after you’ve shown America that you were loyal, only to have your neighbors deny you work and tell you to leave town?
This quiet, little unassuming book really packs a big punch.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2002