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Julie Otsuka

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Told from multiple points of view, When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka chronicles the heartbreaking evacuation experience of an unnamed Japanese-American family during World War II. Otsuka’s novel takes an unflinching and unsentimental look inside a stark shadow of America’s past: the Japanese-American internment camps. The novel explores themes of fear, loneliness, heroism, the American dream and its deferment, cultural divides and how a family, a community, or a country responds when under duress. When the Emperor Was Divine is the 2009 selection of Vermont Reads, a statewide, community reading program sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council.

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