Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese Ame...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Author:Jamie Ford
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Reviews

  • Lynn

    I loved this book, but I had one minor annoyance with it. The author had 4 anachronisms: the book is set (in part) in 1986, and yet the son is in an "on-line" grief support group, and used the internet to look up a lost friend, and there is talk twice about digital conversion of records to CDs.

    This book is told by a 50+ year old second generation Chinese-American. It is told in two different time periods, and flows back and forth between the 1940's to 1986 seemlessly. It is the story of a young

    I loved this book, but I had one minor annoyance with it. The author had 4 anachronisms: the book is set (in part) in 1986, and yet the son is in an "on-line" grief support group, and used the internet to look up a lost friend, and there is talk twice about digital conversion of records to CDs.

    This book is told by a 50+ year old second generation Chinese-American. It is told in two different time periods, and flows back and forth between the 1940's to 1986 seemlessly. It is the story of a young chinese boy who is thrown together with a young japanese girl in Seattle during WW2. It is the story of their friendship/love, and also that of the other relationships that the boy has: his Chinese parents, a local black jazz musician, and later with his own son and son's fiance. Very well written, and very touching.

    It gave an interesting insight into the Chinese views of the war, along with the effects, and the aftermath, of the Japanese internment on the Seattle area.

  • مرجان محمدی

    :نامه نویسنده به خوانندگان ایرانی

    Dear friend,

    When I heard that my debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was going to be published in Persian, my first thought was, “Fantastic! Perhaps I could attend the Tehran Book Festival.”

    You see I would love to visit your country.

    I’ve had friends travel to Iran in the past and they’ve told me wonderful things—about the history, the culture, and especially the kind and generous people.

    Also, whenever the leaders of my country say there’s somepl

    :نامه نویسنده به خوانندگان ایرانی

    Dear friend,

    When I heard that my debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was going to be published in Persian, my first thought was, “Fantastic! Perhaps I could attend the Tehran Book Festival.”

    You see I would love to visit your country.

    I’ve had friends travel to Iran in the past and they’ve told me wonderful things—about the history, the culture, and especially the kind and generous people.

    Also, whenever the leaders of my country say there’s someplace Americans shouldn’t go, I want to go there even more.

    Because I believe literature can, and should, transcend politics. And because I believe readers—lovers of books, wherever they live, are the best kind of people—curious and compassionate, creative and filled with boundless hope. I firmly believe that there is connectivity through storytelling. Or as the great poet, Hafez, once said, “Found nothing more joyful than the sound of words of love.”

    So as a writer (and a reader) I’m daydreaming about a better day, not too far into the future, when perhaps I can be there in person, to thank you for picking up my book—a noble romantic tragedy, a recollection of a forgotten and somewhat shameful chapter in US history, and an innocent love story about people who are seemingly different, but really the same.

    Thank you to Tandis for publishing this book, and a special thank you to Marjan Mohammadi for her hard work and expertise in translating this story.

    I hope you enjoy my work and if so, I’d love to hear from you.

    Kindest regards,

    Jamie Ford

    P.S. Tehran Book Festival. One of these days…

    دوست عزیز،

    وقتی شنیدم رمان اولم، «هتلی در کنج تلخ و شیرین» به زبان فارسی چاپ می‌شود، اولین چیزی که به فکرم رسید این بود: «عالی است! شاید بتوانم در نمایشگاه کتاب تهران شرکت کنم.»

    می‌دانید، خیلی دوست دارم کشور شما را ببینم.

    بعضی از دوستانم پیش از این به ایران سفر کرده و چیزهای شگفت‌انگیزی تعریف کرده‌اند؛ از تاریخ، فرهنگ و مخصوصاً از مردم مهربان و سخاوتمندش.

    همچنین، هر وقت رهبران کشور من می‌گویند ایران جایی است که بهتر است آمریکایی‌ها به آن سفر نکنند، من بیشتر مشتاق این سفر می‌شوم. زیرا معتقدم ادبیات می‌تواند و باید از سیاست فراتر رود. همچنین باور دارم کتابخوان‌ها، عاشقان کتاب، هر جای این دنیا که زندگی کنند، از بهترین آدم‌ها هستند، کنجکاو و مهربان، خلاق و سرشار از امیدی بی‌حد و حصر. من تردید ندارم که قصه‌گویی برای ایجاد ارتباط است. همان‌طور که شاعر بزرگ، حافظ می‌گوید: «از صدای سخن عشق ندیدم خوشتر.»

    ازاین‌رو به‌عنوان نویسنده (و البته کتاب‌خوان) رؤیای روزی بهتر را در سر می‌پرورانم که چندان دور نباشد و آن‌وقت شاید بتوانم به آنجا بیایم و از شما تشکر کنم که کتاب مرا انتخاب کردید، کتابی که درباره‌ی یک تراژدی عاشقانه‌ی باشکوه است و فصلی فراموش‌شده و تا حدی شرم‌آور از تاریخ آمریکا را در خاطره‌ها زنده می‌کند. کتابی که داستان عشق معصومانه‌ی آدم‌هایی است که در ظاهر متفاوت‌اند، اما در باطن یکی هستند.

    سپاسگزارم از نشر تندیس برای چاپ این کتاب و سپاس ویژه از مرجان محمدی برای کار سختی که انجام داده است و از خبرگی‌اش در ترجمه‌ی این داستان.

    امیدوارم از کتابم لذت ببرید و اگر لذت بردید مشتاق شنیدن نظرات‌تان هستم.

    با بهترین آرزوها،

    جِیمی فورد

    پی‌نوشت: به نمایشگاه کتاب تهران چیزی نمانده است...

  • Debra

    Set in Seattle during the Japanese internment during WW2. This book has a sweeping feel to it. It starts out slow - but not slow in the sense who feel like you are waiting for paint to dry - but slow in the "This is really going somewhere" kind of way. It does go somewhere by the way. Once the ball gets rolling, this book sweeps you up into the lives of two friends who made a promise to see each other again.

    The book begins as Henry Lee stands in front of the Panama Hotel. This hotel has been boa

    Set in Seattle during the Japanese internment during WW2. This book has a sweeping feel to it. It starts out slow - but not slow in the sense who feel like you are waiting for paint to dry - but slow in the "This is really going somewhere" kind of way. It does go somewhere by the way. Once the ball gets rolling, this book sweeps you up into the lives of two friends who made a promise to see each other again.

    The book begins as Henry Lee stands in front of the Panama Hotel. This hotel has been boarded up for years but a new owner has discovered something inside - the belongings of Japanese families. Their possessions that were left behind when they were rounded up and taken to internment camps. As he stands watching, a simple act happens...the owner opens up a Japanese parasol. This act takes him back. We have all experienced this. A scent, a food, a location, a sound can take us back to our youth, or to the home of a loved one.

    For Henry Lee, the open parasol takes him back to the 1940s. Henry is raised by a father who wants his Chinese son to be an "American" at all costs. Henry through a "Scholarship" is sent to school where the "American/White" kids ignore him. But there is one person who does not ignore him and that it a young Japanese girl named Keiko. They form a friendship. A type of young love if you will. Sweet and innocent. But then Keiko and her family are rounded up and she is whisked away.

    Henry wonders "Is this her Parasol?" Could more of her families belongings be inside? Can he come to terms with what happened so long ago? Can he rebuild her relationship with his son?

    I thought this book was really good. Such a great book club book. So many discussions to be had. There are elements of friendship, love, loss, betrayal, longing, guilt, loneliness, etc.

    See more of my reviews at

  • Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

    This was my first ever audiobook. It was a good choice, listening to it being read with Chinese accents from Henry and his family made it even more interesting.

    This is the story of Henry, an American born Chinese American and his family, including his dogmatic and anti-Japanese father.

    Keiko is a second generation Japanese American.

    The two meet in a special school where they have won scholarships because of their high intellect. They are the two OUTCASTS in an otherwise all white school. It is th

    This was my first ever audiobook. It was a good choice, listening to it being read with Chinese accents from Henry and his family made it even more interesting.

    This is the story of Henry, an American born Chinese American and his family, including his dogmatic and anti-Japanese father.

    Keiko is a second generation Japanese American.

    The two meet in a special school where they have won scholarships because of their high intellect. They are the two OUTCASTS in an otherwise all white school. It is the height of the war an there is much hatred towards the Japanese. The two are very young, only about 12 and 13 but they build a strong friendship. Henry has to lie in order to see Keiko, her family has no problem with Henry.

    Then the bill is signed that sent thousands of Japanese from the west coast, in this case Seattle, to internment camps, many in Colorado. The two try to keep in touch but eventually the ties are broken

    Henry never gets over Keiko and when his present wife dies he eventually tracks her down, with the help of his son. The two have a final poignant meeting.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all fans of historical fiction.

  • Peter

    is an absorbing story of hope and love. It is set against the politically tumultuous period of World War II, where we experience the alienation forces between the Chinese, Japanese and America people as they live together in the United States. Henry is a Chinese-American boy who lives in Chinatown, Seattle and is close friends with the only other non-white student at his school. That friend is Keiko, a Japanese-American girl who lives in Seattle’s Niho

    is an absorbing story of hope and love. It is set against the politically tumultuous period of World War II, where we experience the alienation forces between the Chinese, Japanese and America people as they live together in the United States. Henry is a Chinese-American boy who lives in Chinatown, Seattle and is close friends with the only other non-white student at his school. That friend is Keiko, a Japanese-American girl who lives in Seattle’s Nihonmachi (Japantown) district.

    The story very interestingly brings the foreign and age-old conflicts between China and Japan to US shores and tarnishes the family acceptance of any relationship, even though Henry and Keiko are both naturalised American citizens. With the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 and the declaration of war between the USA and Japan, there is an overwhelming division between the Japanese and all other communities. As a consequence Japanese immigrants are interned in camps, their personal belongings are stored in the

    , The Panama Hotel, and their remaining properties and businesses are looted.

    The story covers an aspect of the war that I hadn’t really appreciated, how Japanese immigrants were treated in the United States after the bombing of Pearl Harbour.

    The relationship between Henry and Keiko is developed from the racial minority connection but grows into a genuine attraction and ultimately love. The strength of their relationship will be tested as it faces immense political and cultural forces that drive alienation. The efforts of how Henry tried to maintain his connection with Keiko, even visiting her in the camps in disguise, is very touching and well portrayed. The Japanese are relocated inland and he loses all contact, although he never forgets and never stops wondering what may have been.

    So this is a gentle love story against all the odds. They created memories and moments in their short time together that will never be forgotten. A piece of his heart was forever given to Keiko.

    The novel alternates between the 1940s and 1986. In 1986 the Panama Hotel is the centre of refurbishment as it has lain abandoned since it was boarded up during the war. When its doors are opened they discover the belongings of the interned Japanese people from 1942. Henry's memories of Keiko come rushing back and he searches the belongings desperately looking for a memento, a rare record, that he shared with Keiko. He wonders and starts off on a mission to see if he can track her down or at least find out what happened to her.

    I would recommend this book.

  • J.L.   Sutton

    Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was an easy book to get swept into. Henry Lee's search into his past is triggered by a discovery , at the Panama Hotel, of belongings from Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during WWII. Among those belongings, Henry is hoping to find one specific memory which connects him to the love of his youth, the Japanese-American girl, Keiko Okabe. Can Henry recover what he's lost 40 years ago? After all those years, will it even look t

    Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was an easy book to get swept into. Henry Lee's search into his past is triggered by a discovery , at the Panama Hotel, of belongings from Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during WWII. Among those belongings, Henry is hoping to find one specific memory which connects him to the love of his youth, the Japanese-American girl, Keiko Okabe. Can Henry recover what he's lost 40 years ago? After all those years, will it even look the same? Both the Chinese and especially the Japanese districts of Seattle (and the people who move within them) come alive in Ford's moving story. With echoes of Edith Wharton transposed to a different time and place, family, tradition and friendship highlight this beautifully crafted historical novel.

    Great to meet Jamie Ford at the High Plains Bookfest in Billings in October!

  • Jeff

    "Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" is as saccharine and overly sentimental as the title suggests. It is historical fiction for the Nicholas Sparks set -- an emotionally heavy-handed novel that is well told, but not particularly well written.

    There are some diamonds in the rough, though: the historical aspects of the novel are very interesting; the relationships depicted in the book, while not always believable, are complex; and, the issues related to cultural identity and racial discrimin

    "Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" is as saccharine and overly sentimental as the title suggests. It is historical fiction for the Nicholas Sparks set -- an emotionally heavy-handed novel that is well told, but not particularly well written.

    There are some diamonds in the rough, though: the historical aspects of the novel are very interesting; the relationships depicted in the book, while not always believable, are complex; and, the issues related to cultural identity and racial discrimination in the States during WWII are very well detailed.

    All in all, "Hotel" is a great story couched in an okay novel. Ford is a promising writer who, I feel, needs to trust his readers more. That is, he needs to let us feel without trying SO hard to manipulate those feelings.

  • Jason Koivu

    For me Jamie Ford's heralded, multiple award-winning

    was an entirely luke warm reading experience from start to finish.

    The emotional heat that should have brewed within a story of this nature, considering the volatile subject matter, failed to materialize. I never tasted the venom of injustice as I should have. The details of Japanese internment in America during WWII was certainly interesting to read about, especially since I know so little about it. See

    For me Jamie Ford's heralded, multiple award-winning

    was an entirely luke warm reading experience from start to finish.

    The emotional heat that should have brewed within a story of this nature, considering the volatile subject matter, failed to materialize. I never tasted the venom of injustice as I should have. The details of Japanese internment in America during WWII was certainly interesting to read about, especially since I know so little about it. Seeing our country, a country founded on freedom, take it away from its own citizens is chilling. I just didn't feel the chill in Ford's words as much as I could and should have.

    Otherwise, it was a lovely story. A quaint and well-written love story indeed. I did have a hard time rooting for the romantic connection between these two children. They were just too young for me to think in those terms, and maybe it wasn't intended to be so intimate. Certainly their relationship is sweet and I felt myself pulling for them, but I was pulling with all the strength and enthusiasm I would if I were pitted in a game of tug-o-war against a two year old.

    Regardless of my less than perfect reading experience, I think this would be a great book for someone looking for a 20th century historical romance. Perhaps someone who likes YA romance and who doesn't mind it being set against a background of truth and terror for Japanese Americans during World War II.

  • Nan

    I have to admit that I did not like this book. Mr. Ford is a decent writer, and while he did research 1942 fairly extensively, he did a crappy job portraying 1986. I was alive in '86. I was ten, in fact. While my memory of the time is going to be different than that of a 50 year old character, I wound up being very tired of the repeated anachronisms. In one paragraph--on page four of the book, I believe--the narrator tells the readers that the main character's s

    I have to admit that I did not like this book. Mr. Ford is a decent writer, and while he did research 1942 fairly extensively, he did a crappy job portraying 1986. I was alive in '86. I was ten, in fact. While my memory of the time is going to be different than that of a 50 year old character, I wound up being very tired of the repeated anachronisms. In one paragraph--on page four of the book, I believe--the narrator tells the readers that the main character's son is seeing a grief counselor and participating in an Internet support group. In 1986, that sort of thing would have been highly unlikely. Further, in that same paragraph, he tells us the main character's deceased wife is buried in the same cemetary with Bruce and Brandon Lee--and this is seven years before Brandon's death.

    I'm not the kind of reader that gets easily annoyed by poor detail editing--but I am annoyed when sloppy research (or a failure to do any sort of research) leads to misrepresentations of the setting. I found this book to be very sloppy indeed.

    After years of getting comments and feedback on this review, I will take the time to edit it for two important details.

    1. Many of the errors that I found irritating were fixed in the paperback edition of the book. I would argue that this means that others also found the errors irritating that they were, indeed,

    .

    2. Ford replies to the internet issue as one of his FAQ replies on his website. He states:

    You can see the comment

    .

  • Ariella

    Oy vey.

    I really did want to like this book. It sounded like the perfect book for my mood: Not too highfalutin or literary, but a good story I which I can immerse myself and escape to a different time and place.

    As I went on Goodreads a few days ago to add the book to my list of 'currently reading' however, I came across a number of really bad reviews. Disappointed, and somewhat deflated, I nevertheless read on trying to ignore the negativity, stay positive and try to like the story and get into

    Oy vey.

    I really did want to like this book. It sounded like the perfect book for my mood: Not too highfalutin or literary, but a good story I which I can immerse myself and escape to a different time and place.

    As I went on Goodreads a few days ago to add the book to my list of 'currently reading' however, I came across a number of really bad reviews. Disappointed, and somewhat deflated, I nevertheless read on trying to ignore the negativity, stay positive and try to like the story and get into the characters.

    Well, I got to page 67.

    And reviewers who gave bad reviews: you were right.

    My first suspicions about the writing came in one of the first chapters where one page after the other the paragraphs start the same way:

    Henry wasn't sure which was... Worse, (pg 27) and ... More .frustrating (pg 29). Which just led me thinking: Where was the editor here?

    I even read through this sentence on page 33:

    The sum total of Henry's Japanese friends happened to be a number that rhymed with hero.

    What?!? What kind of sentence is that? From an adult? Someone trying to evoke the feel of a Chinese immigrant to the US in the 1940's?! That kind of writing is a word that rhymes with spit.

    Another 30 pages into the book and I thought: why bother? The author clearly hasn't been able to capture my attention, I am not drawn into the story or the characters and while I really wasn't looking for prose of genius, the are minimum requirements of what I am willing to read. (Maybe this book would be better as an audio?)

    So I put down. I give it one star and a new title: Prose on the Precipice of Barfy and Saccharain

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.