Ciska's Book Chest

I am an eclectic reader with preferences for crime/thriller/suspense, historical fiction, literature and contemporary fiction. For more books and other bookish posts visit my blog at Ciska's Book Chest

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford The authorJamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the Western name “Ford,”. Ford is an award-winning short story writer. Having grown up near Seattle's Chinatown, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children. For more information visit synopsisHenry 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. The reviewI found this book in my recommendation list while reading Half-Blood Blues. I liked the title very much but when I read the synopsis I did not think this book would be something for me to read, so I ignored it. Obviously it kept popping up in recommendations and at some point I decided to read some reviews. Most of them where very positive so I decided to give this book a chance. And I am glad I did. The story is a very well described love story. As soon as the two main characters meet you start cheering for them. With everything happening around them you keep hoping it will all be good and they live happily ever after. What I liked was the fact that deep down you feel the book has to have a happy end but it takes till the last pages to find out if it really will be a happy end. What I really liked too that the author did not really describe the looks of each of the characters in detail. Which made that you could really feel that tension that a Chinese person could have been mistaken for a Japanese by Caucasian people who do not know better. The fact that Henry has to wear his “I am Chinese” button. It is a very subtle way to show how easy it is to generalize groups of people on looks. Where the author did miss out on where the details of 1986. Internet and CD's where no common goods back then. Still if you ignore that (which is easy for a lot of people who will not even realize how miraculous those things still where in 1986) it is a beautiful book to read. And it was a surprise to me that it was written by a man.If you like sweet innocent love stories this is worth a try but stay away from this book if you are sensitive to details.