Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

Set against the pulsing backdrop of post-war Tokyo, The Translation of Love tells the gripping and heartfelt story of a newly repatriated Japanese-Canadian girl who must help a classmate find her missing sister. A dazzling New Face of Fiction for 2016 that will appeal to readers of All the Light We Cannot See and Anita Shreve.

Thirteen-year-old Aya Shimamura is released from a Canadian internment camp in 1946, still grieving the recent death of her mother, and repatriated to Japan with her embittered father. They arrive in a devastated Tokyo occupied by the Americans under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Aya's English-language abilities are prized by the principal of her new school, but her status as the "repat girl" makes her a social pariah--until her seatmate, a fierce, willful girl named Fumi Tanaka, decides that Aya might be able to help her find her missing older sister. Beautiful Sumiko has disappeared into the seedy back alleys of the Ginza. Fumi has heard that General MacArthur sometimes assists Japanese citizens in need, and she enlists Aya to compose a letter in English asking him for help.

Corporal Matt Matsumoto is a Japanese-American working for the Occupation forces, and it's his overwhelming job to translate thousands of letters for the General. He is entrusted with the safe delivery of Fumi's letter; but Fumi, desperate for answers, takes matters into her own hands, venturing into the Ginza with Aya in tow.

Told through rich, interlocking storylines, The Translation of Love mines a turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of both the occupied and the occupiers, and how the poignant spark of resilience, friendship and love transcends cultures and borders to stunning effect.
I told you I have discovered historical novels is a genre I have become to truly enjoy, regardless of my prior convictions. And Translation of Love proved my newly addiction to be one that is here to stay and torment my sleep only to bring me satisfaction of reading I never knew before. I kept tossing and turning, torn by the dilemmas of the characters and what is to become of them. Lynne Kutsukake brought rich storytelling, wonderful observations and magnificent character building to the table and garnished it with themes that are here to stay. The range of topics she covered caused my awes of respected and astonishment. She spoke of friendship, love, distrust, even resilience with ease and taste that I have not come across in a couple of years now. I did not expect such depth from a contemporary author.
I was suck into occupied Japan, experienced intimate society lifestyle as one would only if she had live in Japan during the same period. Every single one of her characters lit up from the pages and had his/her own voice heard among the noise of world. At time I believed myself to be dropped by a magical force right in the middle of the story to follow Fumi, Kondo and Aya as if I were there own shadow. I observed their every move almost as if I was a stalker of the worst kind, only to find myself nodding understandingly to their dialogue.5FOXGIVEN
The Translation of Love is evocative, lush and transcendental experience for the lovers of the Joy Luck Club and Memoirs of a Geisha! Without a doubt I give it 5 fox :) Thank you, Netgalley and Random House UK for the chance to experience this novel :)