Susan's Reviews > Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
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's review
May 17, 2012

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Read in March, 2013

I loved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet before even opening it. The title and the cover -- how could you not be entranced by this book? It's the story of Henry, a Chinese man in his late '50s who has recently become a widower. He is searching through the Panama Hotel, where belongings of several Japanese families have been stored since those families were sent to internment camps during WWII. The story goes back and forth between the '80s and WWII, when Henry was growing up and met a Japanese girl, Keiko, who he becomes quite attached to.

The story is sweet, but somehow I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. I liked the storyline okay, and the writing flowed easily -- most of the time. There were a few jarring lines, for instance: The sum total of Henry's Japanese friends happened to be a number that rhymed with hero. Really? The book does have its moments, and I think many people might love it. I didn't really connect to the characters as much as I like to, and it just didn't quite work for me. I preferred Thin Wood Walls, about the same topic (WWII Japanese internment camps).

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