Knopf Canada
(February 2016)



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Lynne Kutsukake

The much anticipated debut novel from two-time Journey Prize nominee and a 2014 Knopf Canada New Face of Fiction, Lynne Kutsukake. A beautifully told and riveting story about friendship and love translated across cultures and borders, about secrets and dreams, about identity and the search for home, and the surprise of finding yourself where you least expected.
Reminiscent of Amy Tan, Mary Ann Shaffer and Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being.

In 1947 Tokyo, during the tumultuous period of the American Occupation, Fumi is searching for her long-disappeared sister amidst the seedy underbelly of Ginza bars while Aya, having been forcibly repatriated to Japan from an internment camp in Canada, is desperate for friendship in a strange place. Citizens of Japan were encouraged to write to General MacArthur, and write they did. MacArthur received over 500,000 letters, let-ters of entreaty, rage, gratitude, complaint, even adoration. Using that kernel of truth, Lynne Kutsukake has invented the character of twelve-year-old Fumi Tanaka. Fumi's older sister Sumiko has disappeared into the world of Ginza bars, and Fumi is determined to find her. She enlists the help of her new classmate Aya, forcibly repatriated from Canada after the war, to write to MacArthur for help. The letter is delivered into the reluctant hands of Corporal Matt Matsumoto, a Japanese-American serving with the Occupation forces, whose endless job is translating the letters. Frustrated with Matt's progress, 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. The Translation of Love is a rivetting novel about friendship and love translated across cultures and borders. It's a story of secrets and dreams, identity and the search for home, and finding yourself where you least expected to. Each of these characters takes an unexpected personal journey, and represents a different role in this little-examined moment in history. A rich and rewarding read "Reminiscent of Joy Kogawa's classic, Obasan, and Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being. LYNNE KUTSUKAKE was a finalist for the Journey Prize in 2010 for “Mating,” and a nominee in 2009 for “Away.” Her short fiction has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, Grain, The Windsor Review, Ricepaper, and Prairie Fire. A third generation Japanese Canadian, she worked for many years as a librarian at the University of Toronto, specializing in Japanese materials. She lives in Toronto.

Available Rights

Language Territory Type Agency Client
German World Book Suzanne de Roche
Liepman AG
The Cooke Agency Inc. Please login


9. March 2016, Rights sold
Transworld (Susanna Wadeson, the editor who discovered and introduced The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to the world)


9. March 2016, Rights sold


18. July 2016, Review
“[M]any scenes pack an emotional punch and are enhanced by the author's clarity and restraint. . . . The Translation of Love offers rich insights into an underreported period in history”

The Globe and Mail

18. July 2016, Review
“In Lynne Kutsukake's dazzling debut, The Translation of Love, readers follow the intertwining stories of several characters, each more unforgettable than the last, in post–World War II Japan, a country still buried in the wreckage of violence and war. At


18. July 2016, Review
“Lynne Kutsukake, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian and first-time novelist, conjures the voices

New York Times

7. October 2017, Rights sold
Nuova Editrice Berti


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