In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, ...
In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s - Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel's basement for the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.
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Excellent insight into a period that shames all of us Americans.
Mar 28, 2013
Excellent Historical Novel
This novel gives a rare perspective on how disrupted Americans of Asian descent were treated after the Japanese attacks on Allied forces during WWII. Through the eyes of the major characters, the author brings a clear understanding to readers and to the modern generation of Asians portrayed in the novel.
Mar 31, 2012
Book gave you a personalized look into the life of young America at a time of war and how it affected personally two groups of citizens their lives.
Aug 4, 2011
Reminder of time gone by
This is a truly charming story, but don't let that
put you off!
It takes you to the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor...and then moves you into the lives of Asian American families living in Seattle.
It a wonderful reminder that as children...we do not know all the stories our parents have to tell.
Oct 21, 2010
This is one of my favorite books. It is an interesting story, but also a look back at the experience of the Japanese Americans who were stripped of their posessions and sent to
interrement camps during WW II. The characters are all well drawn. It is a sad book and a happy book at the same time. I highly ecommend it.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-09-15 Ford's strained debut concerns Henry Lee, a Chinese-American in Seattle who, in 1986, has just lost his wife to cancer. After Henry hears that the belongings of Japanese immigrants interned during WWII have been found in the basement of the Panama Hotel, the narrative shuttles between 1986 and the 1940s in a predictable story that chronicles the losses of old age and the bewilderment of youth. Henry recalls the difficulties of life in America during WWII, when he and his Japanese-American school friend, Keiko, wandered through wartime Seattle. Keiko and her family are later interned in a camp, and Henry, horrified by America's anti-Japanese hysteria, is further conflicted because of his Chinese father's anti-Japanese sentiment. Henry's adult life in 1986 is rather mechanically rendered, and Ford clumsily contrasts Henry's difficulty in communicating with his college-age son, Marty, with Henry's own alienation from his father, who was determined to Americanize him. The wartime persecution of Japanese immigrants is presented well, but the flatness of the narrative and Ford's reliance on numerous cultural cliches make for a disappointing read. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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