When the Emperor Was Divine - Julie Otsuka

I read this book in less than two days. I was in two minds about it. I became quite interested in the three characters whose points of view form the first three chapters, and who are gradually revealed through a sparse accumulation of details; the two children, and especially the mother, attempting to find a way to fit into a land that they thought was theirs and which has suddenly turned utterly hostile. But the fourth chapter, although depicting the most overt racism and suffering, is narrated supposedly by both children; they were very different in the preceding chapters, so this erasure of their individuality has an effect I don't like -- I don't trust the generalizations about them because I already know that they perceive things differently. The fifth, shortest, chapter is different yet again, and is a literary summing-up and angry denouncement of the themes of the book. It's effective, but perhaps too late to lend unity to what has been a bit meandering up to then?