Study Guide

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Chapter 44

By Jamie Ford

Chapter 44

Letters (1943)

  • Henry writes to Keiko and tells her all about how his parents sprung the whole going-to-China thing on him. To his surprise, she tells him that she should go—after all, he doesn't know how long the war will last.
  • Still, he refuses to go and continues to write to Keiko every single week. He also spends time around the city listening to jazz music.
  • In return, Keiko sends him drawings she's done at the camp and tells him all the news about how things are inside.
  • Every week, he goes to the post office and hands over his letter. There's a skinny girl who works there and looks about his age.
  • Whenever there's no mail for him, the girl looks sad and worried. She hates being the bearer of bad news.
  • The letters from Keiko start tapering off, which confuses and worries Henry. He also still sees Sheldon, who is busy playing at the Black Elks Club.
  • But then one day a letter from Keiko does come. It's the same kind of letter as usual, with lots of updates… but it doesn't mention any of Henry's letters.
  • He writes right back, but Keiko's next response doesn't come for months. And when it does, she sounds confused and busy—as though she's missed his letter again. What's going on?

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