Career-wise, Jamie went to art school in Seattle
to become an illustrator, and ended up an art director/copywriter. He’s won an embarrassingly large amount of meaningless awards including 400+ Addys
, 7 Best-of-Shows, and his work has appeared in Adweek
, Advertising Age, Graphis
and Communication Arts. He also had a commercial appear on an episode of The U.K.’s Funniest Commercials inspired by an embarrassing incident with a bidet that he’d rather not go into right now.
On the personal side, he’s the proud father of two boys and two girls. Yep, it’s chaos, but the good kind of chaos.
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 internment 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 internment 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.
It is rare that I pick up a book and know from the first page that this book is destined to be in my list of all time favorites – that is exactly what happened when I picked up “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.
I was initially intrigued by this book because of the historical aspect. I used to be a history snob, especially when it came to historical fiction, but have recently found that these are some of my all time favorite books. While there is definitely a strong historical backdrop, this book is about so much more. Trying to summarize it may not be easy, but I’m going to give it a shot…suffice it to say it is a book you really need to read to thoroughly enjoy, and I highly recommend you do!
The storytelling is superb, as the author is able to switch from 1986 to the 1940s and piece together the life that Henry Lee has led. I admit, I never paid much attention in history, but even if I did you are not subjected to a “lesson” such as this. If so, I probably would have enjoyed it more. We all hear the details of war and it doesn’t really affect most of us unless we know someone who lost their life or a loved one that was affected. A book such as this helps to bring life to the people during this time, and helps you understand what they had to go through to try and survive. Being white, I think that many other caucasians should read books such as these to fully understand what our fellow human beings have had to go through. We are not discriminated against as much as some of the other ethic groups, and this author makes you once again realize how unfair this is.
.Keiko traditions, about the confusion between the Chinese and Japanese during a time when all Asians were being scrutinized about the war. But, more than anything they bring back memories of ancestral were left in the basement by Japanese families in the 1940s. Henry is there for a different reason. These aren’t just pieces of history to him, they are memories. Memories of his life during the World War II era :as the only Asian boy in an all white school, about trying to fit in while still holding fast to his thatThis book is centered around Henry Lee. In the opening pages, Henry is standing in from of the Panama Hotel, on of the landmarks in Seattle that has gone to ruin over the years. It is 1986, and they are about to unveil some belongings that were recently discovered belongings
This book is going to be added to my list of top 20 books of all time. It has everything I look for in a novel and more. This is Mr. Ford’s debut novel, and I for one am looking forward to anything else this author has to say. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEETVIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’09
will officially begin on May 1 and end on May 29. You can visit Jamie’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/
in May to find out more about this great book and talented author!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.