Julie Otsuka

Shelbyville News

Between the Covers: "The Swimmers" By Julie Otsuka

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka begins with a group of swimmers who have been using a particular pool, some for as much as twenty-five years. The pool is below ground level, and while others use the facility, these people have a particular time set aside to swim laps. Swimmers have certain lanes which they always use, and a set of rules that everyone abides by. Otsuka identifies the swimmers usually by first names and lane numbers or sometimes just by lane numbers, so we have an understanding of the relationships in this group. One of the people is Alice who is beginning to suffer memory loss which Alice seems to treat as not serious, even funny.
Echo online

Review: "The Swimmers" by Julie Otsuka

A group of swimmers loses their sense of identity when a mysterious crack forms at the bottom of their pool. Released a decade after her last book on Feb. 22, Julie Otsuka’s “The Swimmers” follows a tight-knit group of pool-goers as they drift apart when their beloved pool is shut down after mysterious cracks begin to form at the bottom.
Picture for Review: "The Swimmers" by Julie Otsuka

Best Of: 'Abbott Elementary' Creator Quinta Brunson / Novelist Julie Otsuka

Quinta Brunson stars as a rookie second grade teacher in an under-resourced public elementary school in the mockumentary sitcom Abbott Elementary. Brunson says she conceived of the show with her mother — a teacher — in mind. Kevin Whitehead reviews a new stash of home and live recordings...
Picture for Best Of: 'Abbott Elementary' Creator Quinta Brunson / Novelist Julie Otsuka
Boston Globe

Julie Otsuka reads for language more than plot

When a crack opens in the bottom of a swimming pool in Julie Otsuka’s new, inventive novel, “The Swimmers,” the people who rely on it for their daily laps find their lives unmoored and changed. This is the award-winning writer’s third novel. Her debut, “When the Emperor Was Divine,” drew on her family’s experience during WW II and her second, “The Buddha in the Attic,” traced the lives of Japanese women who come to San Francisco to marry. The native of California is a longtime resident of New York City.

Shelf Life: Julie Otsuka

Welcome to Shelf Life,’s books column, in which authors share their most memorable reads. Whether you’re on the hunt for a book to console you, move you profoundly, or make you laugh, consider a recommendation from the writers in our series, who, like you (since you’re here), love books. Perhaps one of their favorite titles will become one of yours, too.
Buffalo News

Review: 'The Swimmers,' by Julie Otsuka

——— There is a minimalism to Julie Otsuka's work. The sentences in her slim books dive right into the details. About once a decade, readers are treated to a novel of Otsuka's well-honed words: "The Buddha in the Attic" in 2011 and "When the Emperor Was Divine" in 2002. So, I am thrilled that her latest book, "The Swimmers," is another artfully refined story, even when it delves into the most painful parts of life.

Novelist Julie Otsuka On 'The Swimmers'

Though the main character in Julie Otsuka's new novel has lost much of her memory to dementia, she still remembers being sent to an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. We talk with the novelist about her family's history and writing The Swimmers. Maureen Corrigan reviews Vladímír,...

Novelist Julie Otsuka draws on her own family history in 'The Swimmers'

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest, Julie Otsuka, is an acclaimed novelist who's drawn on her experiences as a Japanese American. Before I tell you about her new novel, let me tell you about her first two. "When The Emperor Was Divine" is based on the experiences of her mother, uncle and grandparents when they were forced into Japanese American incarceration camps during World War II. Her book "The Buddha In The Attic," which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, is a historical novel about the women known as picture brides. These were women in the early 20th century who emigrated to America from Japan the only way they legally could, by marrying a man who was already living here. Working through matchmakers, the would-be husbands and wives knew each other only from photos. When the women arrived and met their future husbands, they typically realized they were deceived in one way or another.