Tuesday 3 October 2017

Review ~ Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Allison & Busby
September 2017

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.

My thoughts

The strength of Jamie Ford's novels, and I've read all three to date, lies in his ability to say, in just a few short words, that which takes some authors pages to impart. He conjures an authentic world so completely that, from the opening page of any of his novels, you become confidently immersed in the lives of the characters he so lovingly recreates.

That this latest book kept me reading long in the night came as no surprise and as Ernest's story is revealed in two very different time frames what comes across is the ability of the human spirit to transcend tragedy. That Ernest's early life in China was built on trauma is written about very sensitively, as is the portrayal of the life he eventually leads once he arrives in America.

Gracefully combining the effects of tragedy, loyalty, love and family, Love and Other Consolation Prizes, is both meticulously researched and elegantly written, by an author whose authenticity shines through with every well written word.

I’m deliberately not saying anything about the way that the story unfolds, as that would be to do both the author, and this beautiful story, a complete disservice, and the book really does deserve to be read without any spoilers from me. So all I will say is that if you enjoy a story which pulls at your heartstrings from the very beginning, which beautifully highlights a forgotten period in history and which is both colourful and poignant at the same time, then Love and Other Consolation Prizes will work for you.

Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the Western name “Ford”. Jamie grew up in Seattle and worked as an art director and creative director, before becoming a full-time writer. He now lives in Montana with his wife and children.

For more information - www.jamieford.com @JamieFord

My thanks to Emma at EmmaFinniganpr for sending me my review copy

 of Love and Other Consolation Prizes



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