In this recording of an evening at Symphony Space in New York City, the wonderful performer and essayist David Rakoff (who died later in 2012) interviews author Julie Otsuka about her book The Buddha in the Attic. The two discuss Otsuka's background as a painter, how she found her voice as a writer, Hemingway, Japanese literature, and the worst things ever said to Otsuka on a writing tour, among other subjects. Rakoff is a skilled interviewer, while Otsuka is open and engaging; actress Rita Wolf also reads a moving and funny passage from the book.
The 2011 National Book Award-nominated author of When the Emperor Was Divine discusses her spellbinding new novel, about a group of Japanese picture brides who come to America in the early 1900s, with the performer and essayist David Rakoff (Fraud, Half Empty).
The book traces the women's lives from their boat journey on which they imagine their husbands and concludes with their "disappearance" in World War II. Like Otsuka's first book, The Buddha in the Attic is about identity and what it means to be "other" in uncertain times. An excerpt will be performed by Rita Wolf.