Gosh, it feels good to be reading good books again!
I fell in love with the title of this novel and then fell in love with the book. Henry Lee is Chinese and has the proof; his father makes him wear an "I am Chinese" button. It's 1942 in Seattle Washington. Japanese are being evacuated to relocation camps. Henry's best friend is Keiko, a Japanese classmate.
The novel flips back and forth between 1942 and 1986, when Henry, mourning the death of his wife, Ethel, sees on TV that the Panama Hotel has been sold and the new owner, in refurbishing it, has come across boxes and boxes of items hidden there by the Japanese before being relocated. He looks for Keiko's things and opens the door to the past.
Beautifully written, this novel snatches your imagination right away and won't let go. I loved it!