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This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry's world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While on scholarship at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.
Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel's dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice, words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By SHEILA on 11-15-17
Japanese and Chinese in WWII in USA
This is a combination of a love story and a History lesson. Two young high school pupils form a friendship, but are torn apart when the Japanese citizens are interred.
Wonderful narration, I got a real sense of the time and place. It is set over two time frames, both of which totally immersed me in the era. There is so much unsaid in the story, which adds beautifully to it poignancy .
By chickensnr on 10-08-16
Well crafted lovestory with a bit of history thrown in for good measure
Enjoyable well paced read with good develpment of the central characters. Providing desire to see their eventual outcome