26 April 2007

When the Emperor Was Divine

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka is about a Japanese-American family in California who was sent to a detention camp in Utah during WWII. The father had already been detained and sent to Texas and stays there for four years; the rest of the family- the mother and two children- live in Utah for over 3 years at the Topaz Internment Camp.

It's not a very long book. You never know the names of any of the family members. About equal time is spent in Utah and California, both before and after the war. I've never been to Topaz, but I think we'll make a trip down there soon.

It's hard to imagine that this happened in the US, that fear could drive the US to lock up this many people who had done nothing wrong. But it shouldn't be. There are still plenty of people who don't want Muslims or Latinos or Africans and more to live in the US. They come up with plenty of excuses of why they should be deported or not allowed in the US at all. Maybe we haven't learned as much as we should have.

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