Thursday, May 20, 2010
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
I think I'm one of the few people who read this book and didn't love it! For some reason, I didn't connect to any of the characters at all. They didn't seem complex or interesting. The story itself seemed to be "told" rather than shown.
The story is about Henry - we first meet him as a 56 year old widower who has recently lost his wife to cancer. He has one son who he has a strained relationship with. One day, he watches as a nearby hotel (The Panama) brings up items which had been hidden in the basement since WWII. These items were family belongings that Japanese citizens left there for safekeeping as they were taken away (relocated to camps). As Henry watches, he begins to remember his childhood and his relationship with a Japanese girl, Keiko.
I get the sentimental aspect of it - the awful truth of how our country treated Japanese citizens during WWII and how anyone of Asian descent was looked at with suspicion. The sadness of being different, and losing someone who you connected with.
I think this book could have been so much more, both in emotion and in history.