Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Just finished reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  A wonderful novel about many things; love lost, father-son relationships, the Japanese in America during the war and old conflicts.

From the book jacket:

“In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown.  It has been boarded up for decades but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II.  As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s, Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors.  After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept.  Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel’s basement for the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure.  His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.” 

A novel full of emotion and beautifully written. I now want to find out more about the treatment of the Japanese in America during the Second World War.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Meg Thompson says:

    Sounds like one for me.
    When we were in LA we stayed in Japantown there, which was a bit different plus the food was great, but the most interesting thing was the Japanese American museum. There were many personal histories about the internment camps and the treatment the Japanese received during the war.
    I suppose you would have read Snow falling on Cedars by David Guterson? If not that was a great read too.

    1. suth2 says:

      Yes I have read that one, another beautiful book. I think you would really like this one.

  2. It’s a very arresting title.

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