When the Emperor Was Divine

by Julie Otsuka | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0375414290 Global Overview for this book
Registered by kz4ufo of Panama City Beach, Florida USA on 3/5/2006
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6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by kz4ufo from Panama City Beach, Florida USA on Sunday, March 05, 2006
Hardback copy for register and release!

Journal Entry 2 by Scottishduffy from Miami, Florida USA on Monday, March 13, 2006
Thanks Holly for the book. I look forward to reading it and then re-releasing it.

Picked up at BCer meeting.

Journal Entry 3 by pkboo from Archer, Florida USA on Sunday, May 14, 2006
got at the bookcrossing meeting tonight putting on my TBR shelf will read when i can

Journal Entry 4 by pkboo from Archer, Florida USA on Saturday, May 12, 2007
From the Publisher
Julie Otsuka’s commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination—both physical and emotional—of a generation of Japanese Americans. In five chapters, each flawlessly executed from a different point 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 more than four years in captivity—she has created a small tour de force, a novel of unrelenting economy and suppressed emotion. Spare, intimate, arrestingly understated, When the Emperor Was Divine is a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times. It heralds the arrival of a singularly gifted new novelist.
Author Biography: 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.

I just finished reading it right now. it was a good & interesting book. I wasnt to sure what it was going to be about. When I saw it at the meetup the cover and title sounded interesting so I went ahead and brought it home with me.

I am going to try and start a bookring with it

Journal Entry 5 by pkboo from Archer, Florida USA on Thursday, May 17, 2007
I made a book ray out of it I only got two people but hey its better than nothing.

list of participants
Carlissa Florida
LeishaCamden Norway <----------here

ray complete

Journal Entry 6 by carlissa from Gainesville, Florida USA on Thursday, May 17, 2007
Thanks, pkboo! will read asap!

Journal Entry 7 by carlissa from Gainesville, Florida USA on Monday, May 21, 2007
Just finished reading this book today. Although there was lots of details of the family's life before, during, and after their internment, I thought it was very odd that the names of the characters were never used.


Sending off to LeishaCamden!

Journal Entry 9 by wingLeishaCamdenwing from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Tuesday, May 29, 2007
This book arrived in the mail today. What a lovely little volume it is. This book really reminds me of one of the reasons why I love books so much - they are such beautiful things. :-) Thank you pkboo and carlissa for sharing this with me. I will write again when I've read the book.

Journal Entry 10 by wingLeishaCamdenwing from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Just an update ... I have actually read this book, and quite a while ago too, July 20th to 23rd. I just haven't gotten around to journalling it because, well, I am slow. I always do this when I'm last on a ray. :-) Tonight I finally sat down and wrote a longish review. Then when I hit the submit button just now I got an error message. And when I went back to the JE page of course everything I wrote had disappeared. >:-( As it's already midnight and I've worked for twelve hours today I don't think I have the energy to try to recreate my review just now ... not to mention that I'm kind of pissed with the site because this happened and with myself because I didn't just copy the text before hitting the button. Growl!! I'll write it again soon though. Just need to let my irritation die down. :-) Rest assured however that I *loved* the book ... !!

Journal Entry 11 by wingLeishaCamdenwing from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Wednesday, September 05, 2007
This time I copied the text before submitting it, and this time it worked without a hitch. Figures. >:-(

Journal Entry 12 by wingLeishaCamdenwing from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Thursday, September 06, 2007
OK, now what did I write ... ?

Apart from the fact that I absolutely loved the book, let's see. I'm deeply impressed with the fact that this is a debut novel. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it in black and white. Otsuka is a truly gifted writer, I will definitely be looking out for more books by her. If this is what she accomplished with her first effort, then in the future we should expect great things from her.

The topic of this book is one that I find very interesting - the internment of Japanese-Americans during the second world war - and it's also a topic that I think is very important in today's world. So for anyone who thinks this book doesn't deal with current issues, in many ways I feel that it does. War is certainly making its presence felt in the world today as well. The internment of these people was a huge mistake and is one of the greatest disgraces in US history (not to mention probably completely couner-productive) - I hope it's a mistake that will never be repeated.

Back to the book ... I just cannot praise it highly enough. It is so beautifully written, the flow of the language is just so smooth and lovely. There is a peculiar distance and at the same time a closeness in the story that is very special. The way the story is told - five chapters with the POV changing with each chapter as the plot moves forwards - is extremely original, I would say unique. It may bother some but I thought it worked extremely well. Each chapter does also give insight into the other characters.

The book is very sad, it really broke my heart to read the story of this family. Even sadder is the fact that I think it's completely realistic. It makes me wonder about the personal history of the Otsuka family. What stories has the writer heard from her parents, grandparents ... ? The narrative doesn't seem on the surface to go into much depth, the story is simply told and appears to be mostly a narration of facts. But Otsuka shows so much through those simple facts. The book is quite demanding of its reader, you have to read between the lines a lot ... but it's also an extremely rewarding read. A beautiful book. I can't praise it enough. :-)

Thank you so much, pkboo, for introducing me to this lovely, lovely book. :-)

I want many more people to get the chance to experience this wonderful novel, so I plan to release it as a ray it forward or something like that ... certainly I want it to find many more readers. To start with the book will be off to Pell in Italy.

Journal Entry 13 by wingLeishaCamdenwing at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, November 13, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (11/13/2008 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



I must be the slowest BookCrosser EVER ... !! But better late than never?? This book is at least finally travelling again. :-) BCer Pell in Italy likes to read 'Asian fiction' and although this book is set in the US I think it's still Asian fiction in a way. The setting certainly is a transplanted piece of Asia, if that makes sense. :-) I loved this book and I hope its future readers will too.

Pell, I hope you will enjoy this book ... or maybe enjoy is the wrong word, it's such a sad story, but I hope you will find it a rewarding read. When you've read it - and there's NO hurry, keep it as long as you want, absolutely no hurry ... !!! - I hope you will let me find some more readers for it. I think you will agree that it's a book that a lot of people ought to read (it deals with a part of American history that is no less important for being so, well, hushed up). I hope we can turn it into a bookring once again ... I already have one, maybe two people who are interested, if that happens. But like I said, absolutely NO hurry!! :-)

This book is travelling to Italy in the company of another novel, Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord, and a candy bar. :-) Good company makes any journey easier!! :-)

Journal Entry 14 by Pell from Canino, Lazio Italy on Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Book arived safely today will try to read it asap.

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