Friday, September 4, 2009

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, 2009 (285 pg.)

I've lived in Seattle for almost a year now, and it was interesting to learn about what the Japanese people in the Seattle area went through during World War II. In this book, the timeline goes back and forth between 1986 and 1942.

Generally speaking, I liked the book. I liked the historical detail that the author included, and I liked the overall themes of the story. The author touched on racial prejudice and stereotypes, the effects of war on people, love, friendship, and family.

I have one major complaint, though. At times, it seemed like the author himself forgot that the "modern time" in the book was supposed to be 1986...not 2009. For example, on the first page of the book, we learn that the wife of the main character, Henry, has recently died. On the next page, the author tells us that Henry's son is dealing with his grief by participating in online support groups. Really? In 1986? Um...I don't think so. But the more annoying error comes a paragraph or two later. Henry mentions that his wife has been buried in Lake View Cemetery, not far from the graves of Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon Lee. Okay...Lake View Cemetery is a well-known cemetery in the Seattle area where many of the founding families of Seattle are buried. Yes, Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee are buried there. But Brandon Lee wasn't buried there in 1986...he didn't die until 1993!

These mistakes in detail do make me question the accuracy of the author's historical details that he includes. I can't help but wonder what other things he got wrong if he was incorrect in something as relatively silly as the death of Brandon Lee.
Total number of books read in 2009: 32
Total number of pages read in 2009: 11952

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