If you’ve read Ford’s previous works – The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet or The Song of Willow Frost, you’ll know his milieu is the Chinese and Japanese diaspora on the West Coast of America – chiefly Seattle and San Francisco.
Ernest Young is sold by his starving, heartbroken mother and sent by ship as a small boy from China to Seattle in the early years of the twentieth century. There, after a tough few years, he is sold again, given as a raffle prize at the World Fair in 1909.
His winners are the owner and manager of a notorious brothel where he falls in love, twice.
Looking back from 1962, when the World Fair rolls round again, Ernest charts his life and loves for his daughter, a reporter, keen to learn about the boy won at a raffle.
Ford’s writing is beautiful, you are totally transported into Ernest’s life as a young man, the sights, sounds and smells of the world he inhabits is vividly brought to life.
I’m a bit biased because Hotel is one of my favourite reads of the last few years, but this is a strong contender to pip it.
The book will be published on the 12th of September, which seems apt for a book about recollections of summers past.