Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Audiobook CD - 2009
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"In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's 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 Henry back to the 1940s, when his world was a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father. who was obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While "scholarshipping" at the exclusive Ranier 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. 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, certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko, searches the hotel's dark. dusty basement for signs of the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even 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"--Book jacket.
Publisher: Westminster, Md. : Books on Tape, p2009.
ISBN: 9781415962091
Characteristics: 9 compact discs (10 hr., 53 min.) :,digital ;,12 cm.
Additional Contributors: Chin, Feodor


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michelesnyder Nov 18, 2010

This is currently my favorite book!

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Oct 10, 2019

Bookclub Oct/2019.

Sep 09, 2019

Recommended by Cindy C.

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 26, 2018

This is a moving novel of American history, racial divides, and family.

In 1986, widower Henry Lee is standing in front of an abandoned Seattle hotel, when the new owner brings out a Japanese parasol, left behind from World War II. His memories flash back to 1942, when he was the only Chinese-American student in the white middle school and his best friend was Keiko, the only Japanese-American girl at that school. As Ford spins out his tale, Henry for the first time tells his son of his own family conflicts with his conservative father over his friendship with Keiko.

You will see World War II from an entirely different perspective than you have ever imagined it before. Of course the Japanese families were hated because of the war and were soon placed into what were essentially prison camps. But the Chinese families had nearly as much prejudice against them as Asians, even though the Chinese were our allies against the Japanese. Ford does an excellent job of portraying the complexities of these relationships and of the mixed emotions of sorrow and happiness.

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.

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!

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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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