Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Translation of Love by Lynne Katsukake

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 432
Publisher: Black Swan 
Released: 2nd of June 2016 

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.

What I Have to Say 

I really enjoyed this book. Not only is it a really interesting period of history, but the viewpoints used in the book gave a wide variety of the Japanese people at the time. The two young girls, Fumi who spent the war in Japan and Aya who had grown up in Canada were probably the most interesting to me. I always find it interesting to see the impact of war on the young and how much they know and don't know about what's happened.

The range of characters were not only perfect to give an oversight of what post-war Japan was like for the Japanese, but they also all added to the main story of Sumiko. Even though at first they are all separate, I really enjoyed seeing how they were brought together by Fumi in her search for her missing sister.

This is definitely a good book for anyone interested in Japanese history, especially around WW2 as it gives a very good view into how it effected the lives of the Japanese people.

My thanks go to Random House, Transworld and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

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