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Love and Other Consolation Prizes
by Jamie Ford
Inspired by a true story, a powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
This is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.
The son of a Chinese American father, Jamie Ford is author of the New York Times bestsellers Songs of Willow Frost and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Having grown up in Seattle, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children.
The Rhode Island Hadassah book club meets the first Monday of every month, except for holidays, religious and national. Our first meeting of the year, in January, is devoted to voting on our choices of books for the rest of the calendar year. We usually read books of Jewish interest, but read a book each year that is non-Jewish, and of interest.
Marilyn Kagan is the coordinator. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org