By: Jamie Ford
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Copyright Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 303 (Nook edition)
Format: Adult Fiction
Reason for Reading: Lin suggested it at the first Quirky Girls chat!
“Oh-I-decky-tay …” The words rolled off his tongue like a Mack truck. He felt a wisp of perspiration on his forehead. The words? What was the rest? “Ooh ree she day … sue.”
Keiko’s face froze in a smile of surprise, interrupted only by her occasional wide-eyed blinking. “What did you just say?”
Breathe, Henry. Deep breath. One more time.
“Oai deki te ureshii desu!” The words came out perfectly. I did it!
“Henry, I don’t speak Japanese.”
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet goes back and forth between 1942 and 1986 Seattle. In 1986, the old Panama Hotel finds a stash of Japanese artifacts that were stored in its basement when the Seattle Japanese were sent off to the internment camps in World War II. Henry, a widower, finds what he is seeking for in those old boxes and suitcases, and his life changes forever.
Ford tells the story beautifully. You get a strong feel for the difficulties in the relationships not only with Henry and Keiko, but Henry and his parents, Henry and Sheldon (a jazz musician who relocated to Seattle from the deep South, and who deeply resents being ordered to the back of the bus), Henry and his son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Henry and his identity as an American-Chinese, and Henry and his past.
I can’t recommend the book highly enough. It’s absolutely lovely.
The Quirky Girls will be chatting at Bumble’s blog on Friday, 4/22, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. If you’ve read the book, come join us. If you haven’t read it but don’t mind spoilers, come join us.
You don’t need any special software or gadgets to join us. Simply log in as a Guest or with your Facebook ID at any time between 8:30PM – 10:00PM ET on 04/22 and join the conversation with your fingers on your keyboard.
Hope to see you then!