Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Random House LLC, Jan 27, 2009 - Fiction - 290 pages
242 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains a Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet discussion guide and an excerpt from Jamie Ford's Songs of Willow Frost.

"Sentimental, heartfelt….the exploration of Henry’s changing relationship with his family and with Keiko will keep most readers turning pages...A timely debut that not only reminds readers of a shameful episode in American history, but cautions us to examine the present and take heed we don’t repeat those injustices."-- Kirkus Reviews

“A tender and satisfying novel set in a time and a place lost forever, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet gives us a glimpse of the damage that is caused by war--not the sweeping damage of the battlefield, but the cold, cruel damage to the hearts and humanity of individual people. Especially relevant in today's world, this is a beautifully written book that will make you think. And, more importantly, it will make you feel."
-- Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

“Jamie Ford's first novel explores the age-old conflicts between father and son, the beauty and sadness of what happened to Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut.”
-- Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.
  

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A sweet love story and an interesting history. - LibraryThing
I needed this happy ending. - LibraryThing
Lovely writing and sensibility. - LibraryThing
It was simply stated and easy to read. - LibraryThing
This would make a wonderful bookclub selection. - LibraryThing
Ultimately, this is a love story. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Limelite - LibraryThing

Formulaic easy read that's full of warm fuzziness. The most interesting quality of the book is the p.o.v. taken from Henry, a young and unambitious Chinese American boy in Seattle. For all its title ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - theWallflower - LibraryThing

One of my least favorite of the books this year. It seemed like I already read this book a hundred times -- oppressed people, Romeo X Juliet love, backwards family living in the past that doesn't ... Read full review

All 12 reviews »

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Selected pages

Contents

Uwajimaya1986
Camp Harmony1942
Visiting Hours1942
Home Again1942
Dinner1986
Steps1986
Sheldons Record1942
Camp Anyway1942

Dim Sum1986
Lake View1986
Speak Your American1942
Jamaican Ginger1942
I Am Japanese1986
The Basement1986
Executive Orders1942
Fires1942
Old News1986
Martys Girl1986
Urne1986
Home Fires1942
Hello Hello1942
Downhill1942
Tea1986
Records1942
Parents1942
Better Them Than Us1942
Empty Streets1942
Sketchbook1986
Moving1942
Stranger1942
Thirteen1942
Sheldon Thomas1986
Waiting1942
Farewell1942
Angry Home1942
Letters1943
Years1945
Meeting at the Panama1945
VJ Day1945
Broken Records1986
Hearthstone1986
Tickets1986
Sheldons Song1986
New York1986
Authors Note
Acknowledgments
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright

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