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)
I found the writing unsophisticated, sentimental and naive. The voice of the 12 yr old protagonist is unrealistic, and I simply could not buy him as a real 12 yr old. The narrator is mediocre, and although his accents are passable I also did not find him at all compelling. I think buying this book is a waste; it's just not very good. If you are looking for a wonderful novel in this realm, buy "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" which is absolutely great on all levels.
I loved the historical awareness of the American cruelty and rasism that this book unvailed for me.
Probably yes since the performance in this case was exceptionally good in my opinion.
The narrator does a great job of taking on the roles of the characters, so that in addition to the author's wonderful portrayal of the characters, we get to know them by their distinctive and realistic voices as well. The performance is not over exaggerated - its cadence is perfect.
The most memorable character is the Henry, of course. I found him compelling because he was believeable and yet outstanding. He was brave in his decisions to act against his father's wishes and willing to suffer the consequences. However, he was also prepared to respect his father's views and wishes. Henry was honorable.
As an historical novel, I learned how difficult the period of WWII was for Japanese immigrants in the USA. I also learned of the virulent hatered many of the Chinese harbored for the Japanese.
Henry. He shows what love beyond any limitations (time, race, perceptions, expectations....) can feel like
Love, beginning and ending
Especially poignant if you happen to live in Seattle.
I really enjoyed the narration of this book. Chin did a great job bringing the varied characters to life - including the young girl and the seasoned Jazz musician). The story was sweet and provided some interesting insight into Japanese and Chinese cultures in America during the second World War.
Randee and Dan
This book was a nice love story. I guess I need to find an actual history book to read more about the day to day lives in the relocation camps.
The most interesting aspect was the fact that so much of the Japanese people's belongings had to be left behind or destroyed when they were relocated.
The intonation of the character's voices was very good
Yes on the movie or TV show. No comment on the actors.
I was hoping to hear more about the day to day life in the relocation camps.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is ranked very high among my list of audiobooks.
This is a bittersweet story of two young people during the evacuation of Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Ford's characters come to life on each page and by the end of his story you literally have a lump in your throat. Beautifully written and wonderfully told by Feodor Chin.
Chin does a great job moving between characters. You almost feel that there is more than one narrator.
Buy this audible, you won't regret it!
I enjoyed listening to this audiobook.
When the meaning of the title was reviled.
The finding of the record.
As a person with dyslexia, audio books give me the opportunity to "read" wonderful books that I would otherwise miss. Thank you for this fabulous service.
This book had been recommended to me several times by the same person, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. I'm sorry I waited so long.
I like a book that has a great story, interesting and believable characters, good writing, and information. This is the whole package.
I knew very little about the Japanese internment in the US during WWII. Now I want to learn more.
The narrator is first-rate. He does a nice job with the female characters and gives a hint of an accent when appropriate without being difficult to understand.
This would be a very good book for anyone from a teenager on up. The lesson is universal and timeless.
I really enjoyed this book. Normally I don't care for books that go back and forth between times, but this one was easy to follow and made the story better. The reader was perfect. The author keeps you guessing (and hoping) what the end will be and gives a better understanding of that part of history. Great Book!
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