Study Guide

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Chapter 1

By Jamie Ford

Chapter 1

The Panama Hotel (1986)

  • At the beginning of the book, an older Chinese-American man named Henry Lee stands outside the Panama Hotel in Seattle.
  • He's watching a crowd gather around because something special has been discovered in the hotel—the belongings of thirty-seven Japanese families who were interned during World War II.
  • He thinks about his family, especially his wife Ethel who has recently died. Their son is now going to college nearby.
  • Henry finds himself staring at the things being brought out and thinking about the past… and the people who owned these objects.

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