Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
999 Challenge Category: New-to-me Authors
In 1986, the current owner of the Panama Hotel begins remodeling, and finds possessions of several Japanese families who left Seattle in the 1940s when they were sent to internment camps. This discovery makes the news, and reminds newly widowed Henry Lee of his experiences as the son of Chinese immigrants in 1942. "Scholarshipping" in an all-white school, he makes a friend when Keiko Okabe transfers to his school and works alongside him in the cafeteria.
The narrative shifts between 1942 and 1986, and we see past and present from Henry's perspective. Ford evokes a rich sense of place in his descriptions of Seattle neighborhoods and the jazz scene in the 1940s. More a story of internal discovery than external events, the story and its characters insinuated their way into me until I found, to my surprise, that I cared enough to cry. 4.5 stars.
Cross-posted at the 999 Challenge.