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.
©2009 Jamie Ford; (P)2009 Random House Audio
"A tender and satisfying work 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 best-selling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain)
"Jamie Ford's first title 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, best-selling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)
This is an enjoyable listen that drew me into the story. Evokes some of the feeling of snow falling on cedars.
The central character and his emotional growth throughout the book brought me into the story
I found myself prolonging my listening sessions just to experience the world of Hotel Bitter and Sweet as it developed.
The mingling of music and love added a dimension to the story. The story works well as an audio book.
yes well written and narrator was super
increased knowledge about how America
It made me realize how unfair we Americans acted towards other Americans
It was a great story of how different races feel towards each other and how time can change that some.
no I have not
Their meetings at the fence and when he would go all the way to the concentration camps to look for her.
The absorbing human story intertwined into the sad history of west coast internment of Japanese citizens.
Henry. The narrator was wonderful, read with great feeling...inflections so authentic.
This is a story which enlightens the reader and portrays a global view of WWII from Asia to Germany.
Definitely. I loved the story. This is a lovely tale about two young adults, from totally different cultures, who find a friendship and understanding in a world turned on end by war. The characters are very likable and the story is quite touching. Not in a mushy Harlequin way, but in a Wow sort of way.
I had no idea when I purchased the book that it took place in Seattle (my home town). I was surprised at how many places are still here today and how many I frequent on a regular basis. I thought I knew my town and our country's history pretty well… I was wrong.
I honestly didn't think I cared for audio books, but the narrator had a way of grabbing and holding my attention. His voice was even, his characters were believable, and he made you like them. I could honestly see each person in the story. I've heard other narrators that just annoyed me, their phony accents, over exaggerated voices, etc.... were too much like a very bad low budget film.
Yes, but I don't want to spoil the tale for anyone else.
I was shocked that the Liberal Seattle I know and love was once very much the opposite. Quite surprising.
Yes, I would recommend it! Admittedly, the story starts out slow, but given a chance, this is truly a romantic story with a soul. Also, the history of our nation at the period of Worl War II is always so interesting, but this is my first experience reading about it from the standpoint of the Chinese and the Japanese.
Kayko and Henry were my top favorites, of course, but the intensity of the relationship between Henry and his parents (and then Henry with his own son) was riveting. Henry's friend is my hero in the story; so strong, yet so quiet, he is the quintesential friend.
No, but I will!
See above note!
The narrator of the book becomes the characters which given the nationality of protagonist is a difficult feat.
The story moves from present time to the WWII era and captures the listener from the beginning. While fictitious the story is obviously well researched and conveys a picture of what must have been a very challenging time in American history. For those of us that only slightly know if the Japanese interment it is certainly enlightening to what the mood of the day must have reflected. Beautiful story,well written and narrated.
I never listen to a story twice no matter how much I've enjoyed it. I like to move on to new stories.
I enjoyed the ties with history that were made in the book.
Don't usually listen to books twice
Work of Amy Tan
Excellent depiction of the all the diverse characters
No one moment
The book moves between two time periods, the second world war and the 1980s, and focuses on Henry as a 12-year-old and then as a 50 something who has just lost his wife. Ford does a great job of drawing the reader into Henry the boy and seeing how he became the man that he did. It is a complicated story of father/son relationship and, most importantly of the internment of Japanese citizens during the second world war. I learned a lot.
That I learned so much about the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II through a well-plotted, well-developed novel.
I can't think of a particular moment--there were many.
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