Books & Conversations: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

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Conference/Presentation

1月 201129
2:00p.m.

Japanese American National Museum
100 N Central Ave
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States


In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to concentration camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol. 

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the concentration camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept. 

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago. 

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

Come join us as the author discusses and reads from his stunning and moving novel.

Program is free with admission. Reservations recommended to rsvp@janm.org or 213.625.0414 at least 48 hours prior to the event. Include the name, date, and time of the program, as well as your name and the total in your party. 

www.janm.org

 

JANM . 更新日 12月 13 2010 12:05 p.m.


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