Love and Other Consolation Prizes : A Novel
by Ford, Jamie

A half-Chinese orphan whose mother sacrificed everything to give him a better chance is raffled off as a prize at Seattle's 1909 World's Fair, only to land in the ownership of the madam of a notorious brothel where he finds friendship and opportunities, in a story based on true events. By the best-selling author of Songs of Willow Frost.

The son of a Chinese American father, Jamie Ford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and Songs of Willow Frost. Having grown up in Seattle, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children.

Seattle's two world's fairs frame Ford's (Songs of Willow Frost, 2013) new novel. Twelve-year-old Ernest Young, who at age five was sold by his desperately poor Chinese mother and put on a freighter headed for Seattle, is the prize in a raffle at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The highest bidder turns out to be Madame Flora, proprietor of a high-class brothel called the Tenderloin. There Ernest finds a home, works his way up from houseboy to chauffeur, and falls in love with two girls, Maisie, Madame Flora's daughter, and Fahn, a Japanese girl who works at the Tenderloin as a kitchen maid. More than 50 years later, Ernest's daughter Juju, a journalist, decides to write a then-and-now piece to coincide with the opening of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, and this triggers a flood of memories, all the more poignant because Ernest's wife is suffering from memory loss. Ford is a romantic rather than a realist, keeping the novel buoyant despite some difficult subject matter-human trafficking, for example. A vibrantly rendered setting adds to the appeal. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Too old to dream of being adopted, Ernest Young is raffled off at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific World Exposition to Madame Flora, who runs a notorious brothel. His adventures have just begun.Ernest has already lived a lifetime of surprises and indignities. After his starving Chinese mother secured her only son a spot on a freighter to America, Ernest, only 5 years old, had to learn swiftly how to navigate a world that denigrated him not only for being an orphan, but also, and perhaps worse, for being of mixed blood. Ernest never knew his white father, but his youth and mixed heritage enabled him to make friends with both the Chinese girls on the ship and the lone Japanese girl, Fahn. Once Ernest survived a month captive in the hold of the ship, not to mention a near drowning, he became a ward of the state in Seattle and eventually attracted a wealthy sponsor, who sent him to an exclusive boarding school, where he endured racism and discrimination, and then, when he has the te merity to tell her he would rather go to another school, she has him raffled off at the World's Fair. Surprisingly, life in the bordello is exciting, not least because there Ernest meets Madame Flora's tomboyishly charming daughter, Maisie, and reunites with Fahn. Falling in love with both, however, can only lead to heartache, since life in a brothel exacts certain prices. Ford (Songs of Willow Frost, 2014, etc.) casts this complex love story against the backdrop of the little-known history of Chinese and Japanese orphans, who found slavery and indentured servitude rather than opportunity in America. Now in his 60s , Ernest faces his wife Gracie's declining control over her memory, which endangers the secrets he has kept from their daughters. But now their eldest, an investigative reporter, has begun to discover some potentially scandalous secrets. Alternating between Ernest's past and present, Ford captures the thrill of first kisses and the shock of revealing long-hidden a f fairs. A lively history of romance in the dens of iniquity, love despite vice. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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