Lost Liberties

Novels about the discrimination suffered by Asians in America tend to be melodramatic affairs calculated to get readers reaching for tissues rather than insight. Julie Otsuka's first novel, When the Emperor Was Divine, is a crisp departure from the Asian-American sobfest. Otsuka's tale of the disintegration of a Japanese-American family during World War II offers a powerful indictment of government-sponsored paranoia that has implications for today's U.S. war on terror.

Bound for Baghdad
March 17, 2003 Issue

 N. Korea: The Crisis Escalates
 S. Korea: Can Roh Reform?
 Terror: From Bali to Davao
 China: Heritage under Threat

 Interview: Nicholas Tse
 Books: The Guru of Love
 Books: Divine Emperor

 Indonesia: Security Forces Feud

 Fashion: Manolo Blahnik
 Shopping: Celebrity Castoffs
 Books: Best Travel Guides

CNN.com: Top Headlines
The book's backdrop—the injustices suffered by Japanese Americans incarcerated in internment camps during the war—is familiar material. But Otsuka, through various devices such as the use of characters without...

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