Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The cover of this book really wants you to read it - it's filled with wonderful praise for the writer and his story. But we should never judge a book by its cover. This is a wonderful story, truly wonderful, but I found the writing tedious and dull. There was no magic here. This isn't a long book by any means, but it really felt like it. It just dragged on and on! Half way through you see how it will end, and I really wanted it to do just that. It's a terrible shame, because it is a moving story (though, rather obvious). The writer should stick to the short stories he has previously written - this felt like it was a short story, and an editor had told him to fill it out to make a bestseller. I wanted to like this book, but now that its over I just feel excited to start a new one.
I took issue with the historical nature of this novel. None of the facts are wrong, but sometimes it seems a little unreal. A Chinese boy sneaking into a Japanese internment camp without notice? And working in the kitchen? Highly unlikely. Highly unlikely also is a piece of prime city real estate sitting empty for decades.
On a positive note, the characters are solid.