Ford’s debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of my absolute favourite books and this bittersweet second novel exceeded all expectations. Inspired by the true story of an orphaned infant who was raffled off at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Expo in Seattle, Ford reimagines his story with Earnest as a twelve year old, working as a houseboy in a brothel where he finds friendship and the family that he yearns for. Ford is a master storyteller weaving heartache, hope and history into his novels.
Recommended by Bobbie Ryan, Dubray Grafton St
1909, Seattle. At the World's Fair a half-Chinese boy called Ernest Young is raffled off as a prize. He ends up working in a brothel in Seattle's famed Red Light District and falls in love with Maisie, the daughter of a flamboyant madam, and Fahn, a karayuki-san, a Japanese maid sold into servitude. On the eve of the new World's Fair in 1962, Ernest looks back on the past, the memories he made with his beloved wife while his daughter, a reporter, begins to unravel their tragic past.