On the streets dipping down to the Pacific in Seattle, two friends - a Chinese-American boy named Henry and a Japanese-American girl named Keiko - forged a bond that will last from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the 1980s.
Due to Henry's father's racism toward all things Japanese, Henry often walked Keiko home to Japantown, a few blocks from his own home in Chinatown. They were the only two Asian faces in school, bright enough to earn scholarships in return for their work during lunch and after school.
Later, Keiko's family is interred in a concentration camp in Idaho, one of the big atrocities of the war. Still, Henry manages to see her and writes letters every week. Eventually, they are unanswered or returned.
As Henry tells this story to his son, Marty, the book takes a new twist. Is this a father-son relationship theme or a gritty look at the dark moments in U.S. history? Or, is the underlying love of jazz a riff to dance no matter what is happening in life? I know the amazing characterization and strong plot made this a fast read for me. When I learn something while in bliss, it is just an added bonus.
3.5 out of 5.0 Bitter Sweets.