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Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet : a novel
Jamie Ford
Adult Fiction FORD

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Ford's strained debut concerns Henry Lee, a Chinese-American in Seattle who, in 1986, has just lost his wife to cancer. After Henry hears that the belongings of Japanese immigrants interned during WWII have been found in the basement of the Panama Hotel, the narrative shuttles between 1986 and the 1940s in a predictable story that chronicles the losses of old age and the bewilderment of youth. Henry recalls the difficulties of life in America during WWII, when he and his Japanese-American school friend, Keiko, wandered through wartime Seattle. Keiko and her family are later interned in a camp, and Henry, horrified by America's anti-Japanese hysteria, is further conflicted because of his Chinese father's anti-Japanese sentiment. Henry's adult life in 1986 is rather mechanically rendered, and Ford clumsily contrasts Henry's difficulty in communicating with his college-age son, Marty, with Henry's own alienation from his father, who was determined to Americanize him. The wartime persecution of Japanese immigrants is presented well, but the flatness of the narrative and Ford's reliance on numerous cultural cliches make for a disappointing read. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Chinese American Henry and Japanese American Keiko bond as the only Asian students in a Seattle elementary school in 1942. The two are the victims of both racist attitudes and the patriotic fervor following Pearl Harbor. While emphasizing their deep friendship, first-time novelist Ford also conveys the minute details of that particular time and place. Feodor Chin's (Journey of a Thousand Miles) energetic, sensitive reading makes the story moving without ever resorting to sentimentality. Recommended for Asian Americans and those interested in Pacific Northwest history. [Embeddable audio clip available through; the Ballantine hc was described as "a vivid picture of a confusing and critical time in American history," LJ 10/1/08.-Ed.]-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Henry Lee
Chinese American
Recently lost his wife to cancer; remembers his childhood when he wandered through wartime Seattle with Keiko who was eventaully sent to an internment camp; searching for Keiko's belongings; trying to coomunicate with his college-age son.

Keiko Okabe
Japanese American
Henry's childhood friend and love; was sent to an internment camp during World War II.

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