My local book club selected the novel Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford for January’s meeting. I had two days to read it and let me tell you, I couldn’t put it down.
The story is set in Seattle’s Chinatown area, and the story’s protagonist, Henry, is in his mid-fifties at the story’s beginning. Henry is passing by an old hotel in what was once the Japanese section of their community. It has been recently purchased for restoration, and the new owner has called a press conference after making an unbelievable discovery. After 40 plus years, she has found the stored belongings of Japanese residents of the area who were taken to internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The news has Henry thinking back to those days when he was eleven years old and struggling with his place in this wartime world where the slant of your eyes and the color of your skin could make you a target.
The author does an insightful job of weaving his WWII tale of growing up in a strict Chinese family. Henry faces conflicts with his father, children at the “white” school and his former classmates at the Chinese school. His life seems dismal, and then he meets Keiko, a fellow scholarship student at the school.
The only problem is that Keiko is Japanese, and his father hates all the Japanese people because of their invasion of China. Henry’s father makes him wear a button that states “I am Chinese” on it, Whether it was for his protection so he wouldn’t be labeled as Japanese or because of his father’s hatred for the Japanese people or not, Henry detested wearing it.
The story painted a raw, detailed portrait of life for immigrants in this country; and especially for Japanese-Americans as they were forced to leave everything behind and were taken hundreds of miles away from their homes until after the war ended. The conditions they lived under at the internment camps is a terrible stain on the history of the United States.
The story jumps back and forth between the 1980s and the 1940s as Henry tries to mend his relationship with his son as he searches for a treasure from his past.
This is a story of families, of different cultures, of generational conflict, of love, of loss and of prejudice. I would recommend it to readers who like historical fiction, romance, and stories set in the WWII era.
My father wasn’t a big home improvement guy. He could hammer nails and demolish whatever you wanted to be torn down, but that was the limit of his expertise. I always wanted to be better at home repairs than my father, and I have accumulated my own tools over the years. I’ve read how-to books on different projects I’ve wanted to tackle and had mixed results upon their completion.
There is an empowerment in working with your hands transforming a bunch of metal and screws into a shelving unit or painting a bedroom a new color. But, there are also the frustrations of a project that has gone terribly wrong.
The other day I set out to replace the roman blinds in one of our guest bedrooms with plantation wood blinds. I removed the old hardware. filled the holes in the window frame left by the old hardware and began to install a new set of blinds.
Well, remember the old adage of “measure twice, cut once”? I had measured the windows several times before I purchased the blinds. but I concentrated on the width of the windows, not so much the length. You guessed it! The blinds were too short!
I’m lucky I can use the blinds somewhere else, but I had to purchase new blinds and will continue my project tomorrow. Then my major frustration will be manipulating the drill at odd angles to screw in the hardware.
Wish me luck! I’ll need it…
This week’s One Million Project Blog post is written by John Nedwill and is entitled The Problems with History.
John Nedwill is a fabulous short story writer, and I have enjoyed reading his stories for the past two years. In this week’s blog he discusses the problems with writing historical fiction. I’m looking forward to reading his new story dealing with gunrunning in Ireland in 1914.
Check it out!
Ah, the quintessential sporting event of the year had the nation enthralled for the evening. Super Bowl Sunday. I know there’s also the World Series, Wimbledon, and the Masters, and they are important events.
But, the hoopla around the Super Bowl is different. Million dollar plus commercials have some people just tuning in to see the unique, but always memorable marketing masterpieces. Who can forget the little lost puppy and the Clydesdales?
They opened the roof for Lady GaGa and her army of 300 synchronized lighted drones dancing in the sky above her. Followed by the entertainer rappelling off the roof and onto the stage far below. I’ve never seen dancing drones at the Masters — only hideous green jackets. It’s a tradition, I know, but who thinks those jackets are spiffy?
Last night was the first time ever the Super Bowl went into overtime. At the half, the Falcons were ahead 28-3. I’m sure some people thought the game was over. I’ve learned the game isn’t finished until the final buzzer. The momentum and the score can change quickly. It can be won in the last minute as it was last night. I’d like to extend my congratulations to the Patriots and the Falcons for making it to the big game and playing with heart and determination. The only thing I would change is having the Packers playing. Go Pack!!
Another surprise were the political statements contained in the commercials and performances. I don’t remember seeing anything similar during the commercials in previous years. Unless nacho chip eating in a laundromat and Betty White undergoing a transformation after eating a candy bar has political undertones I’m not aware of.
I can’t wait until next year!
I saw this post and had to share it. Poetry, photos, and writings from participants in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017 are highlighted in this blog.
Millions of people marched on January 21, 2017, to oppose the new Trump administration in the US — and wrote about (or photographed or sketched) the experience.
When I came up with the idea for Exodus, it wasn’t even an election year. I didn’t want to write a “fiction-mimicking-life type of story. I planned to write a Romantic Suspense which had aspects of domestic terrorism.
As each chapter rolled out, my writing forum members would ask if I was getting inspiration from the current political cycle. That would be a ‘negative’. My original premise came from my time in the Army Reserve in the 80’s. An individual or group had tried to gain access to the reserve center to obtain military equipment. They weren’t successful, thank goodness.
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t. ~ Mark Twain
This led me to research domestic terrorism. I found some mind-blowing statistics about the rapid increase in extremist groups and domestic terrorism over the last two decades. I had no idea.
Violence in the name of political beliefs isn’t a new idea. Think Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s duel, assassinations or attempts on political figures, and the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma in the 90’s, you will find a small sampling of my thought process.
I write fiction. I create plausible and implausible worlds where I decide the outcome. I do think the adage “truth is stranger than fiction” is true. This is a crazy world with unpredictable people, and I’m happy the world isn’t comprised of cookie-cutter people. How dull would the paintings, music, film and books be without the diverse creative citizens of our world.
I can only say, I hope and pray this political season doesn’t reflect my book. If so, we are in for a helluva ride!!
** I’m offering a discount coupon code SE34Q , so you can buy the recently published Exodus on Smashwords for only 99 cents! Follow this link for my book page — Smashwords Offer good through 10/7/16.