When The Emperor Was Divine
On a sunny day in Berkeley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her house, 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 homes and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert.
In this lean and devastatingly evocative first novel, Julie Otsuka tells the story of one Japanese American family from five flawlessly realized points of view—the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family’s return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after almost four years in captivity. 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. – www.julieotsuka.com