When the emperor was divine is the second of Otsuka’s books that I’ve read and I’ll start out by saying that I prefer The Buddha in the attic.
Not that this book is bad, it is similar in many ways; her style can be described as intense outburst of feeling, letting fragments of stories build up. With The Buddha in the attic though she let some of those fragments be made up of many voices, like a choir singing the chorus and it made a huge impression on me and added to the story.
As much as I feel for the characters in this story, and it’s a part of history that must be remembered; how people of Japanese origin were stripped of their rights and interned in the US during WW2, I doesn’t extend to a bigger group. My sympathy is for the three of them, deeply, but the rest of the people at the camp remain invisible.
Maybe that’s the point. At a mere 200 pages, and in a small format, there is no excuse not to read this book; it will be done in one setting. But the same can be said of The Buddha in the attic and that one leaves a bigger impression.
Books mentioned in this post;