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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Book 50, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a historical novel which is basically a love story of two twelve year olds who were separated by the war and ended up spending their whole adult lives apart.

We read so many books set in the familiar WW2 Europe of Germany/England/occupied France, this one is different (at least to this British reader) because it is set in Seattle on the Pacific West Coast of America. The two children who fall in love are of Chinese and Japanese origin, which is what separated them, because the Americans effectively imprisoned Japanese civilians during the war (at least that's what happened in the book).

So it's set in a fairly unfamiliar setting for me. The story itself is  bit drawn out. It reminds me a bit of The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is a story of a man looking back on an unrequited love earlier in his life. In Remains of the Day Stevens was held back by his own social inhibitions; in Hotel on the Corner it's more the cultural gap that divides the two lovers, and which they both come to accept.

I wouldn't say I greatly enjoyed this book. Very little happens really and I found it difficult to believe that someone aged 12 could fall so in love that he carried it with him for the rest of his life. The whole jazz scene in Seattle held no great interest for me and I award in 5 out of 10. I would says it's a better book than that mark though, I just didn't enjoy it, but it is a good story if you are into this type of book.

The next book will be the 50th book of the project, although it's the 51st bookcase, because I am yet to find anything worth reading on bookcase 48.

Love You More doesn't look great I have to say, but it's a very small case with only a few books, so there's no much choice. It looks another American spree killer-type book, which I have to admit I heartily loathe as a rule, but I will give it a go!

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