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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet [Hardcover]

Jamie Ford
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
Price: £10.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 April 2011
1986, The Panama Hotel The old Seattle landmark has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made a startling discovery in the basement: personal belongings stored away by Japanese families sent to interment camps during the Second World War. Among the fascinated crowd gathering outside the hotel, stands Henry Lee, and, as the owner unfurls a distinctive parasol, he is flooded by memories of his childhood. He wonders if by some miracle, in amongst the boxes of dusty treasures, lies a link to the Okabe family, and the girl he lost his young heart to, so many years ago. With over a million copies sold worldwide, this captivating debut is a story of the sacrifices one boy makes for love and for his country.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: ALLISON & BUSBY (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749009195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749009199
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 480,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jamie Ford is the great grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name 'Ford', thus confusing countless generations. Ford's debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a New York Times bestseller, and has been awarded the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. It has been translated into twenty-nine languages. Having grown up near Seattle's Chinatown, Ford now lives in Montana with his wife and children. www.jamieford.com

Product Description

Review

'Ford deftly pulls off a Hollywood-worthy romance, one anchored to a true event. An entertaining and often illuminating tale' THE SPECATOR. 'Mesmerizing and evocative...a tale of conflicted loyalties and devotion' Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS. 'An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut' Lisa See, bestselling author of SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN. 'Engrossing...A really good, genuinely heartfelt novel... I think I have fallen a little in love with it' Dovegreyreader. 'Four stars - recommended' Psychologies magazine. 'I can see readily why people are raving about this book...The characterisation is second-to-none, the story is intriguing... A well-told story that it sets itself apart. It's AWESOMELY GOOD!' Booksmonthly.co.uk

About the Author

JAMIE FORD is the great grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name 'Ford', thus confusing countless generations. Ford's debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a New York Times bestseller, and has been awarded the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. It has been translated into twenty-six languages. Having grown up near Seattle's Chinatown, Ford now lives in Montana with his wife and children. www.jamieford.com

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, heartwarming, bitter and sweet 10 July 2011
By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet tells the story of a young Chinese-American boy, Henry Lee, and his lifelong love for his childhood friend, Keiko Okabe. The story is partly set in 1942, when America is at war and 'enemy' citizens (those with Italian, German but mainly Japanese heritage) are being interned in prison camps. Henry is a lonely child - sent to an almost all-white school by his stern parents, his only friend is Keiko, a young girl of Japanese descent who, like Henry, is earning her scholarship by working in the school kitchens. They are only 12 when the story begins and their friendship and blossoming romance is sensitively portrayed.

As the grip of war tightens, Keiko and her family are among the thousands of American citizens of Japanese descent who are rounded up and imprisoned, supposedly to prevent them 'spying' for the enemy, and what belongings they can't take with them are hurridly stashed in the basement of the Panama Hotel.

The story of Henry and Keiko's wartime friendship is interspersed with flash-forwards to 1986, when Henry has taken early retirement and, after a happy marriage, is alone again with occasional visits from his somewhat distant son Marty. When he learns that the belongings of those Japanese families have been unearthed from the basement of the recently re-opened Panama Hotel, it reawakens his feelings for his wartime friend and his curiosity about what became of her and her family.

This is a beautifully told story, heartwarming and beguiling but thankfully not over-sentimental or twee. In his Author's Note, Jamie Ford says that he wished to recreate the internment of Japanese-Americans "without judging the good or bad intentions of those involved at the time".
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 11 Jun 2011
By Lincs Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
t's at times like this that I wish I were a writer and not just a reader as there is no way my words can ever do this beautiful novel the justice that it deserves. I would go as far as using the word 'masterpiece' to describe it and I feel a little bereft at the thought that I no longer have the wonderful world of Henry Lee to escape to having finished the book.

A dual time narrative, set in 1942 and 1986 - in Seattle, USA, with Henry Lee as the main character. In 1942, Henry is 13 years old and attending a Caucasian school in the city. Henry doesn't really know just who he is. At home he is forbidden to speak Cantonese as his parents want him to be 'American', yet neither his Father or his Mother speak English well enough to hold a conversation. At school, he is bullied and picked on by the white American pupils and called a 'white devil' by the Chinese kids in the area who attend the Chinese school. And then there is the badge that his Father insists that he wear on his jacket - the one that reads 'I Am Chinese'. Henry's father is terrified that someone will mistake him for a a Japanese boy - America is at war and the Japanese are the enemy, even those that were born in America.

At school, Henry helps out in the school canteen and it is when American-born of Japanese parents, Keiko begins to work there too that he realises just how different he is to his father. To him Keiko is his special friend, she's American, her parents are professional people, she doesn't even speak Japanese. Henry and Keiko become allies - discovering Jazz music and spending hours together.

And then, the USA Government decide to 'evacuate' everyone of Japanese origin. Keiko and her family are sent to ready-made internment camps where they will stay for the next three years or so.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading 13 Sep 2011
By Tried and Tested VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a wonderfully written book which really makes you feel for the characters. It is split between 1942 and 1986 and follows Henry, a young Chinese-American boy who does not fit in at his all white school, he is completely alone at school until Keiko, a Japanese-American joins his class and quickly becomes his best friend and the love of his life. When Keiko and her family are sent away to a labour camp, Henry swears he will always wait for her.

I never knew anything about how Chinese or Japanese people were treated during WW2, obviously on the whole the Japanese were seen as the enemy but I'd never considered the effect this must have had on those who were actually brought up to be US citizens. It would never have dawned on me that there would have been an effect on Chinese people based in the US (particularly from the fact a lot of people cannot tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese). This book, highlights the treatment not only of these two races but also of black people in the US during the war however, it does this in a way that is not judgemental, it is just telling it how it was.

This is a truly beautifully written book that really stirs up your emotions. It is one of my favourite reads of the year and I can highly recommend it.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, lovely read 18 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is such an enjoyable read, which deserves to be a bestseller. I haven't recommended it to anyone who doesn't agree.

Enough has been said by previous reviewers regarding the plot. Suffice to say that it is beautifully written story of thwarted young love, never oversentimentalised or mawkish. The research is impeccable and highlights the after effects of war on innocents.

There are many finely drawn supporting characters who would warrant short stories themselves.

My favourite read in 2010. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Its a sweet book, well written and informative within a love ...
Its a sweet book, well written and informative within a love story between a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl. I liked it.
Published 1 day ago by Marianna Lutyens
3.0 out of 5 stars History interesting, romance less so
I wasn't aware previously of how Japanese people were treated in the US during WWII - and this book gives a good insight into that. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Damo Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Really loved this book. I learned a bit of history too!
Published 7 days ago by maws
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read. Interesting
Wonderful read. Interesting, likable characters, story was believable and taught me about a period in time I knew little about.
Published 8 days ago by Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars I love happy endings!!
Loved reading this, no matter how long it takes, true love will always prevail!!! Welldone Jamie, I enjoyed reading this.
Published 15 days ago by eby
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
As ordered
Published 23 days ago by Hazel Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars this book should be read by everyone who goes to ...
this book should be read by everyone who goes to live [or visit] the West Coast of America, it is factually based and utterly memorable
Published 26 days ago by typecast76
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful and very touching story by a very accomplished writer
Published 1 month ago by Irene Double
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple beautiful book
a work of beautiful prose well written and a delight not my normal choice but more than worth reading high quality
Published 1 month ago by Bill Peters
5.0 out of 5 stars have recommended to all my friends
Delightful and moving, have recommended to all my friends.
Published 1 month ago by Angie B
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