Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

[a Novel]

Audiobook CD - 2009
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"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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publisher: Westminster, Md. : Books on Tape, p2009.
ISBN: 9781415962091
Branch Call Number: AUDIOBK CD FORD J
Characteristics: 9 audio discs (approximately 73 min. each) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Chin, Feodor


From the critics

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ArapahoeDagmar Jan 21, 2018

Great audio version of a bestselling book about love that spans decades. Wonderful descriptions of time and places in US history during WWII.

Aug 03, 2016

Keep some tissues nearby! Loved it!

librarylizzard Dec 05, 2013

This book was equal parts sad and full of hope. It was very emotional to read about families and communities being torn apart by the Japanese internment, but the relationship between Henry and Keiko was the dose of sweet amongst all the bitterness. I enjoyed the way the story jumped from past to present almost seamlessly, and thought the ending was lovely and not too unbelievably perfect for my taste.

samdog123 Jan 18, 2013

Henry and Keiko meet in Seattle during WWII in Seattle, Washington. He, from a conservative Chinese family, she, from an American Japanese family. A friendship begins between the two of them but Keiko's family is sent sent away to a Japanese interrment camp. The story takes place between the 1940's and 1986 and is a very touching story.

Aug 06, 2012

Wow. I really enjoyed this book. A nice little love story but not too sappy.

I love that it was set in Seattle with real events that Mr. Ford was able to develop a lovely story around. What a crazy time WWII was. Hard for me to fathom random up all the Japanese and shipping them off. Just crazy. And this explored that actions aftermath from the eyes of a young boy.

Well written. Lovely story. Highly recommend.

Jun 14, 2012

My book club is reading this, and I was surprised to learn when I started it that the hotel mentioned in the title is the Panama Hotel in Seattle's International District. I've gone to the tea room there a few times!

It's an interesting book with a good fictional story as well as a lot of historical details about Japanese internment during WWII.

gracie723 May 04, 2011

Beautiful historic realistic love story! Captivating from begining to end! -- CD's are read by an excellent, easy to understand, narrator! Highly Recommended!

michelesnyder Nov 18, 2010

This is currently my favorite book!

Feb 15, 2010

Recommended Nancy P and Therese S


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bnotash70 May 15, 2012

The lives of Japanese Americans in San Francisco after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and how they were carted away to concentration camps on little notice with only a few belongings, horrible and here in the USA, and very similar to how the Germans rounded up the Jews, but we didn't kill them


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