Lynne Kutsukake

The Translation of Love
  • The Translation of Love



    "The Translation of Love is sweepingly gorgeous book about two little girls, and their heart-stopping search for a lost sister in the underbelly of Tokyo. From the desperate clutch of friendship in the time of tumult, to the bustling night markets and brothels - every brutal, moving moment is beautifully wrought. An incredible debut." Lisa Gabriele, author of 'Tempting Faith DiNapoli'

    "An epic tale of defeat, despair and redemption ... a beautiful debut." Toronto Star

    "Conjures the voices of an agonised time with elegant simplicity and moments of indelible poignancy." New York Times

    "Kutsukake’s moving debut focuses on the intertwining stories of several protagonists in post–World War II Tokyo… The result is a memorable story of hope and loneliness with a cathartic ending." Publisher's Weekly

    During the American occupation, the citizens of Japan were encouraged to write to General MacArthur – “if you have a problem, write a letter, this is what democracy means” – and so write they did. MacArthur received over 500,000 letters, letters of entreaty, rage, gratitude, complaint, even adoration.

    Twelve-year-old Fumi Tanaka has a problem – her beautiful and beloved older sister, Sumiko, has disappeared. Determined to find her, Fumi enlists the help of her new classmate Aya, forcibly repatriated with her father from Canada after the war. Together, they write to MacArthur and deliver their letter into the reluctant hands of Corporal Matt Matsumoto, a Japanese-American GI whose job it is to translate the endless letters.

    When weeks pass and they hear nothing from Matt, the girls take matters into their own hands, venturing into the dark and dangerous world of the black market and dancehalls. They're unaware that their teacher, Kondo Sensei, moonlights as a translator of love letters, and that he holds the key to Sumiko's safe return.

Lynne Kutsukake is a third generation Japanese Canadian. She has studied Japanese literature and for many years worked as a librarian at the University of Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications and The Translation of Love is her first novel. She lives in Toronto.

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