Monday, April 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesday 128: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

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."

(Pg 64)


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.

(pg 138)


"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."

(pg 227)

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.


Alice Audrey said...

Sounds like a very contemplative book.

Kathy Martin said...

This does sound like a very good book. Thanks for visiting my teaser. Happy reading!

Beth F said...

Great quotes. I've been meaning to read this. I really need to make the time.

Irish said...

I did this book on audio a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it.

Thanks for visiting my teaser.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This one has been on my wish list for awhile...great snippets!

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Heather said...

Alice: Contemplative is a good word to use. It does indeed make you think.

Beth F: This has been on Mount TBR for a couple years, and I am glad I finally made the time to read it.

Heather said...

Kathy: It is quite good. I've found myself rereading some passages.

Irish: Isn't it a wonderful story?

Laurel-Rain: Hope you manage to get your hands on this one. I think you would like it!

Harvee said...

Book has been on my wish list for a long time. Great teasers.

Sandy Nachlinger said...

Like you, I loved this book. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I was especially interested in the Japanese internment during World War II. This book does a great job telling that story without sounding too pedantic. Thanks for posting a comment on my blog today.

Heather said...

Harvee: Thank you, I hope you can pick this one up yourself soon!

Sandy: I don't think Americans know enough about this dark chapter in our history. I first became aware of it in HS. One of our school librarians and her family had been interred during WWII, and she was featured in a local news segment.

People are always wondering how something like the Holocaust could happen, with thousands of people being taken away, and I think this book nicely illustrates that as well. Not only through the gawking of non-Japanese citizens during the evac process, but also through Henry Lee's father when, upon being told by Henry that all of Nihonmachi is being evacuated, his only response is, "better them than us." Deplorable!

Beth said...

Great teaser! I've read a lot of good things about this book and need to add it to by TBR list. Thanks for stopping by.

Shelley Munro said...

I liked the teasers, but I'm not sure this book is one for me.

Heather said...

Beth: It was a really good book. Had me a little choked up at the end. *sniff*

Heather said...

Shelley: It is literary fiction set mostly during WWII and 1986 in Seattle, WA. Very US oriented, so between that and the historical context, it probably won't appeal to everyone, but it was very good.