Skip to main content

The Translation of Love

Lynne Kutsukake


List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/5/2016)


Against the backdrop of occupied Tokyo, a young girl searches for her missing older sister, who has disappeared into the world of bars and dance halls. In the process, her story will become intertwined with those of others trying to make sense of their lives in a post-war world: a thirteen-year-old Japanese Canadian “repat,” a school teacher who translates love letters from American GIs, and a Japanese-American soldier serving with the Occupation forces. An emotionally gripping portrait of a battered nation, The Translation of Love mines this turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of people on both sides—and how resilience, friendship, and love translate across cultures and borders no matter the circumstances.

Winner of the Canada-Japan Literary Award

Praise For The Translation of Love

“Remarkable, beautiful. . . . A haunting mystery that is also a moving coming-of-age story.” —Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

“[Kutsukake] conjures the voices of [an] agonized time with graceful simplicity.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A spellbinding, magnificent story. . . . Thoughtful and discerning, The Translation of Love presents resonating testimony to humanity’s resilience.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Dazzling. . . . A commanding story about identity, redemption, and healing that’s not to be missed.” —Bustle

“Mesmerizing. . . . Moving from the gorgeously epic to the unflinchingly intimate, The Translation of Love takes us to the emotional core of Occupied Japan. It captures the strange, liminal time between destruction and recovery, and the uttermost vulnerability of those carrying on in the rubble of uncertainty and loss.” —Kyo Maclear, author of The Letter Opener
“Kutsukake skillfully weaves [her] characters’ varied perspectives together to create a vivid and memorable account of ordinary people struggling to recover from the devastations of war.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A bold, beautiful book. . . . Kutsukake’s remarkable debut spans the emotional terrain between identity and loyalty, love and loss, victory and defeat.” —Brian Payton, author of The Wind Is Not a River
“Stunning.” —Library Journal
The Translation of Love offers rich insights into an underreported period in history.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Eloquent, moving. . . . A heady blend of detailed historical research and compelling storytelling.” —The Japan Times
“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
“[A] moving debut. . . . A memorable story of hope and loneliness.” —Publishers Weekly

Anchor, 9781101912461, 336pp.

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

About the Author

A third-generation Japanese Canadian, Lynne Kutsukake worked for many years as a librarian at the University of Toronto, specializing in Japanese materials. Her short fiction has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, Grain, the Windsor Review, Ricepaper, and Prairie Fire. This is her first novel.