A port city with a long history of Asian immigration, Seattle is the perfect setting for New York novelist Julie Otsuka to talk about the

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Julie Otsuka

A port city with a long history of Asian immigration, Seattle is the perfect setting for New York novelist Julie Otsuka to talk about the illegal World War II internment of Japanese-Americans (the subject of her 2002 novel When the Emperor Was Divine). And you couldn't ask for a better stage interlocutor than novelist Jamie Ford, whose father wore an "I Am Chinese" button here during his '40s childhood—to avoid being confused with despised Japanese-Americans. (This was the subject of Ford's 2009 novel Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, set in the ID, where he grew up; today he lives in Montana.) Ford, whose great-grandfather changed the family surname from Chung, and Otsuka will tonight discuss immigration, assimilation, and Otsuka's most recent novel, the 2011 The Buddha in the Attic, about mail-order Japanese brides in the early 20th century. Whether of Chinese or Japanese ancestry, families up and down the West Coast have long been rocked by waves from across the Pacific, their loyalty and patriotism called into question. Then the storm passes, and it's left to the writers to make sense of the wreckage. Presented by Seattle Arts & Lectures. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Tue., Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., 2013

 
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