"Lynne Kutsukake paints a vivid portrait of the American Occupation of Japan in The Translation of Love and keenly tackles the layered complexities of national identities in flux: Japanese, Canadian, and American. At the heart of this book is a young girl's page-turning quest to find her missing sister, and a touching, masterfully-woven tale of bystanders who cannot look away." ( Suzanne Rindell, author of 'The Other Typist')
" The Translation of Love is sweepingly gorgeous book about post-war Japan, a shattered country trying to piece itself back together. It begins with a letter passed to General MacArthur by two little girls, and ends with a 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 in Lynne Kutsukake's expert hands. An incredible debut." ( Lisa Gabriele, author of 'Tempting Faith DiNapoli')
"An evocative and compelling tale of friendship, family and a country in transition. Lynne Kutsukake’s novel is an elegantly crafted reminder that no one is left untouched by the ripple effects of war, and that our quests for outside truths can often lead us to secrets we’ve been keeping from ourselves." ( Sarah Bird, author of 'Above the East China Sea' and 'The Yokota Officers Club')
During the American occupation, the citizens of Japan were encouraged to apply directly 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.
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