* Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009) by Jamie Ford

Book Review: I was drawn to this book by its cover–it’s beautiful.  The soft hues of orange, yellow and green sort of fade into each other and pour over the two children who stand under their umbrellas.  Unfortunately, the writing is not as beautiful.  I picked up and started the book several times before I read far enough and became engrossed enough to read it for pleasure rather than obligation (I purchased a hard cover on a whim).  I liked the subject: Japanese internment in the 1940’s and a cross cultural relationship between Chinese Henry and Japanese Keiko.  I also liked the subject of generational gaps. Henry’s father was a Chinese loyalist who could hardly communicate with his American-born son, and Henry is a traditional Chinese-American who often feels distant from his college-aged son.  The conflicts are interesting and real though they are often brought out in a clunky way, making them less believable on the page than they probably are in real life.  The relationship between young Henry and Keiko is sweet, but at times not quite believable either.  The end is a bit too neat and tidy.  On the other hand, I did reach a point where I wanted to pick up the book each night and transport myself to 1940’s  Seattle to be with them, to watch their lives unfold.  My favorite character?  Definitely Sheldon whom we first meet playing his saxophone on the street and who becomes a life-long friend of Henry’s.  (fiction)

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