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I am about 40 pages from the end of this novel, which I can not recommend enough. It is beautifully written and the chapters are short, with some of the most poignant being only two pages. My teasers are from the paperback trade size copy.
"What about their relatives? Someone must have heard, wouldn’t they have called . . ."
"I thought that too at first, but I think a lot of people just don’t want to go back. Sometimes that’s the best thing to do—to live in the present."
Henry looked up and down the empty avenue—no cars or trucks anywhere. No bicycles. No paperboys. No fruit sellers or fish buyers. No flower carts or noodle stands. The streets were vacant, empty—the way he felt inside. There was no one left.
"Henry, this isn’t about us. I mean it is, but they don’t define you by the button you wear. They define you by what you do, by what your actions say about you. And coming here, despite your parents, says a lot to them—and me . . . They don’t see you as the enemy. They see you as a person."
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese girl from his childhood in the 1940s—Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors.
After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel's basement for the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.