Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet begins with a real-life event: The 1986 discovery in Seattle's Panama Hotel of the belongings of thirty-seven Japanese families, stored there for safe-keeping in 1942. As one would expect, much of the novel revolves around events just before and just after American residents of Japanese descent were forcibly relocated during WWII. As historical fiction, the book is top-notch; Ford's insertion of references to historic Seattle landmarks, locations and events create a heightened sense of realism. He also does an exemplary job of describing the atmosphere of Seattle's Chinatown in the 1940s.
"The entire city came alive in the morning. Men in fish-stained T-shirts hauled crates of rock cod and buckets of geoduck clams, half-buried in ice. Henry walked by, listening to the men bark at each other in a Chinese dialect ...
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Images: Top Right: Residents of Block 21, Minidoka Internment Camp, Idaho (1943). Bottom Right: An American soldier of Japanese ancestry at the railroad station of a small town in an agricultural community. He and nine other service men of Japanese ancestry received furloughs to enable them to come home to assist their families get ready for evacuation from their west coast homes.
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