Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Half-Chinese Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, is astounded to learn he will be raffled off-- a healthy boy 'to a good home' -- at Seattle's 1909 World's Fair. The winning ticket belongs to the madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. They form the first real family Ernest has ever known. Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780804176750
0804176752
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 25 cm
Call Number: FORD, J

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shayshortt
Nov 21, 2017

As usual with Jamie Ford, I was most fascinated by the carefully incorporated Seattle history. This seems to be his passion, and I often wonder what would happen if he tried his hand at non-fiction. (Disclaimer: I received access to an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book)

s
superreader64
Nov 16, 2017

This book is distasteful! I read only half of it. I don't recommend this book.
What a disappointment, doesn't compare to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, the author's first book.
I, too, noticed the mistake about middle school. That term was not used in 1909 or 1962.

d
DorisWaggoner
Oct 19, 2017

Most of the main characters are well rounded and interesting. The beginning is touching, as famine and poverty in China's Pearl River Delta lead Yung's mother to sell him to a "man who is not your uncle," who takes him illegally to America in 1902. He ends up in a string of orphanages in early Seattle, where, as the only Asian child, he is bullied and his brilliance isn't noticed. At the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909, Yung, now known as Ernest Young, 12, is raffled off, becoming a houseboy at Seattle's best brothel. There he falls in love with two girls a bit older than he, and finds friendship for the first time. This is the best part of the book. Interleaved with this is Seattle's 1962 World's Fair. Ernest has been living alone, his wife descending into dementia and living with one of their two daughters. The 1962 World's Fair begins to bring back some of her memories of their early days together. These sections of the book, and the ending, are too rushed, and a bit maudlin. A native Seattleite, I noticed a few errors, some of time--Ernest at 12 is said to be in middle school, which was still called junior high in 1962. Others are minor errors of fact that Ford, also a native Seattleite, shouldn't be making. Still, an enjoyable book if not quite up to ""Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet."

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shayshortt
Nov 21, 2017

This is Ford’s third historical novel, this time set in Seattle during the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. Ford opens on the better remembered 1962 fair, and uses it to echo and reflect the main action of 1909. The plot was inspired by a fascinating newspaper clipping from the AYP Expo, advertising the fact that an orphan boy was one of the raffle prizes at the fair. The fate of the real boy is unknown, but in his novel, Ford imagines what might have become of a young half-Chinese boy named Ernest, whose winning ticket is sold to the madam of an infamous brothel. Raised in a Catholic orphanage, Ernest comes to the red light district as the temperance movement is surging in the city, and finds himself caught between the Japanese house girl, Fahn, and Madam Flora’s stubborn daughter, Maisie.

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