Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

(Photo from Goodreads)

  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Trade Paperbacks
  • Pub date: October 6, 2009
  • Format: Paperback (library copy)
  • Genre: Adult fiction, historical

Quick Summary: It is 1986 in Seattle and Henry Lee is grieving the death of his wife. Then old belongings are found in the hotel of old Japantown from when the Japanese were relocated during the war. When Henry sees a Japanese parasol he is brought back to those war years when he befriended Keiko, a Japanese girl he went to school with. Henry and Keiko became more than just friends until they were separated when Keiko was sent to a Japanese internment camp. Forty years later, Henry is still thinking about Keiko while trying to grieve and reconnect with his son. Can he fix what was broken in the past or should he move on?

General thoughts: Take the title as a warning; this is a real bittersweet love story. Even so, I liked this book club pick. I enjoyed the story of Henry and Keiko’s friendship amid the atmosphere of 1940s America. I liked how the story was told from the past and present as Henry remembered his life during “the war years” while trying to move on during the present. It was just so sad and so bitter and so sweet.  

My rating: 3 stars

Do I recommend it? Yes, this is a good read if you like historical fiction and/or Asian/Pacific American literature. 



One response to “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

  1. i love historical fiction, and this is actually one of my favorite reads. i will most likely re-read it soon~

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