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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Audiobook

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford's stunning debut, 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.

©2009 Jamie Ford; (P)2009 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2995 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Beverley 05-18-14
    Beverley 05-18-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't turn it off!"
    What made the experience of listening to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet the most enjoyable?

    I loved the narrator and the story and the author's excellent descriptions of places and events was fantastic.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet?

    When Harry's son realized his father had loved this woman his whole life but sacrificed those feelings for the honorable commitment to his wife.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 05-02-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 05-02-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Loved This Book!!!"

    What a wonderful story! I never really thought about the treatment of the Japanese during WWII - there isn't much in the history books at school. This book really brought it to life. It is a heartwarming book that immerses you in Chinese and Japanese cultures on the West Coast of American during the WWII. It is a truly fascinating story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen J. Fesenbek Bend, OR 04-18-14
    Karen J. Fesenbek Bend, OR 04-18-14
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    "Loved it!"
    Would you listen to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet again? Why?

    Yes, this is a compelling story with an unexpected perspective.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book is well written. You will be forced to read on to see what happens.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 04-10-14
    Julie 04-10-14 Member Since 2017
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    5
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    "Able to find sweetness in the bitter"
    If you could sum up Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet in three words, what would they be?

    Lost and found love.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet?

    When his father said he did it for him.


    Have you listened to any of Feodor Chin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Love overcomes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GW 04-08-14
    GW 04-08-14 Member Since 2017
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    "A very moving story"
    If you could sum up Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet in three words, what would they be?

    Tolerance, respect, friendship


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet?

    There is a moment involving the main character and his grown son that is very powerful in a quiet way.


    Have you listened to any of Feodor Chin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was the first time I had heard Feodor Chin. I enjoyed him very much. He makes you feel the emotions of the characters but in a quiet way. He gave this book the perfect tone.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, very much so. There were events unfolding that were hard to put aside. Finding a place to stop was not an easy thing.


    Any additional comments?

    There is important history within this story. I learned a great deal about an event in American history that is seldom mentioned. It was not our finest hour but it needs to be recounted so that we never make the same decisions again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Hudsonville, MI, United States 02-20-14
    Susan Hudsonville, MI, United States 02-20-14
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Very spellbinding and very well read"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to be better than the print version?

    I greatly enjoyed the authentic accents of the narrator


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical facts written into storyline


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Finding the items in the basement of the hotel


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book kept my attention an I couldn't wait to see if they eventually found each other


    Any additional comments?

    This not the usual type of book I read but I was truly involved in this book. I enjoyed the historical facts there were worked into the storyline. I like books of romance and this one did not let me down. I enjoyed reading from the man's point of view.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Merrick, NY, United States 02-11-14
    Beth Merrick, NY, United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2013
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    7
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    "A must read"

    I learned so much and completely fell in love....this book was one of my favorites

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Junk 12-06-13
    Keith Junk 12-06-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best by Far"
    Would you listen to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet again? Why?

    I would listen again because it is so very well written with a story line for the ages.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Very emotional for a guy that usually doesn't "feel" the emotions in a book


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 09-18-13
    Linda 09-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A point to Remember"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to be better than the print version?

    I did not read the printed version


    What did you like best about this story?

    The challenges the characters had to overcome and how the story's theme is something worth taking with you.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was not very knowledgable about the details related to the historical events - both in the US and aboard - and hearing about them in this context helped bring home the concept of how impactful they were to people's lives.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PJ 08-27-13
    PJ 08-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well-written, well-read"

    I enjoyed this book when I wasn't sure I would. Some of the aspects of the plot are predictable, but the author does an excellent job of weaving together the present with various stages of the main character's past. Very well performed and overall an enjoyable read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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