Reader reviews and comments on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, plus links to write your own review.

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A Novel

by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Jan 2009, 304 pages
    Oct 2009, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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There are currently 13 reader reviews for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
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Shirley (06/01/10)

I was a teenager in high school on the coast of Southern California during this period of history. I knew what was happening but did not at that age even begin to realize how devastating this was for the Japanese families nor the magnitude of the event. Of course looking back, I am so sorry it took place and cannot even imagine the pain it caused for these fellow Americans. What a sad day in history.
Beth (05/14/10)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
This tender story between Henry, a Chinese-American and Keiko, a Japanese-American, who fall in love in Seattle during WWII and are then separated by the internment camps, is an engaging read. The book is written in alternating time from Henry's point of view as a 13 yr-old, and that of a man in his 50's in the mid-1980's who has recently lost his wife. Notably, when as here, a novel is set within two time periods, one part of the narrative often suffers by comparison. That is not so in this case, as each portion of the tale is equally strong, vivid in description, and believable in the way the characters act. Throughout the book, the tragic circumstances of what was done to the Japanese in the Pacific Northwest during the war is pointedly conveyed without overwhelming the underlying love story.
One of the strongest aspects of the novel is the author's depiction of his characters. You can feel the fierce national pride of Henry's father that motivates his hatred of the Japanese who are at war with China and causes him to treat Henry in a way that may seem inexplicably cruel to a modern reader's sensibilities. In the same vein, the reader feels the struggle of Henry's mother to support her son within the strictures of her old world relationship with her husband and the accompanying fear for her family should they viewed as supporting the Japanese in America.
In sum, I would recommend this book for the redemptive nature of the story and the vivid portrayal of the devastating effects of a period of American history not often discussed.
Diane (03/17/10)

Good but not great
While I felt this was a well written and researched book but it was definitely flat. For me it never hit the depth that I believe the author was looking for.

I fell this is a timely subject and will be looking for something with a little more depth. Great first novel.
Margaret (02/17/10)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
This book was excellent.....well written and historically documented. Most of us born in the '40's have not really been given the "inside" information re: that time. I have a friend who lived in a camp (she was about 2/3 at the time) and I never dreamed of asking her questions....after reading this book I now regret that.
The title is perfect....bitter for the times and sweet for the relationships.
iris-w.bloomfield, mi. (02/20/09)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
This is truly a gem of a book.

The relationship between a father and son of Chinese descent is only surpassed by the relationship of the young Chinese boy and a young Japanese girl in 1942 Seattle at the time of the Japanese internment camps. Historically it casts an eye on a shameful period of this countries past that is not ofter depicted in our fiction.

The book alternates between 1942 and 1986 where we meet the mature Chinese man and his son as they work to solidify their relationship.

While sounding simplistic, the book is filled with many other well developed characters which round out the book and provides many levels of plotline without being contrived or confusing

This is definitely a page turner that is hard to put down. It has enough meat to stimulate interesting conversation. As an avid reader I highly recommend this book.
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