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Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated in 1865 from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco, where he adopted the Western name, “Ford.” Ford studied as an illustrator and found professional success as an art director and copywriter before turning his attention to fiction. An award-winning short story writer, his debut novel was inspired by the “I Am Chinese” button his father mentioned wearing as a child after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Ford wrote a short story about the button, which later became a chapter in the book. Now a New York Times bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet has been awarded the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and translated into thirty languages. Ford grew up near Seattle’s Chinatown, but now lives in Montana with his wife and children.
Author photo © Laurence Kim
June 2014 Book of the Month. A bittersweet tale that fluctuates back and forth between 1921 and 1934. It follows an orphan Chinese boy, William, in Seattle who sees a beautiful Chinese woman, Willow Frost, in a film and is convinced she is his mother. We then backtrack and get Willow, aka Liu Song’s tragic early life before jumping forward to discover William’s escape from the orphanage with a young blind girl and their pursuit of Willow. The whole thing is utterly charming with a fascinating backdrop of the Chinese attempting to blend into American life and wonderful historical detail of the Depression. A very fine book indeed and an excellent follow up to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
March 2012 Debut of the Month.40 years on, the discovery of a Japanese family's personal belongings stirs memories of an innocent first love. This New York Times best-seller has sold more than 1 million copies and been translated into 30 languages – but that is because it is a very special debut book. Beautifully and evocatively written this tender story of the power of love and the human heart will stay with you long after you finish it and is perfect for reading groups.