WHEN THE EMPEROR WAS DIVINE

Julie Otsuka

Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction

 

It is four months after Pearl Harbour and overnight signs appear all over the United States instructing Japanese Americans to report to internment camps for the duration of the war. For one family it proves to be a nightmare of oppression and alienation. Explored from varying points of view – the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train journey; the son in the desert encampment; the family’s return home; and the bitter release of their father after four years in captivity – it tells of an incarceration that will alter their lives for ever.

 

Based on a true story, Julie Otsuka’s powerful, deeply humane novel tells of an unjustly forgotten episode in America’s wartime history.

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