Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Love in Translation” as Want to Read:
Love in Translation
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Love in Translation

by
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Stuck. That’s how 33-year-old aspiring singer Celeste Duncan feels, with her deadbeat boyfriend and static career. But then Celeste receives a puzzling phone call and a box full of mysterious family heirlooms which just might be the first real clue to the identity of the father she never knew. Impulsively, Celeste flies to Japan to search for a long-lost relative who could ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Love in Translation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Love in Translation

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 503)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Perri
I loved this book! It was a fun and light-hearted read for downtime, and it thoroughly interested me. Love In Translation is about a thirty-something American woman who, after getting a strange phone call, sets out to find her roots and possibly her family- in Japan, of all places.

Celeste was a funny, utterly relatable character. Her quest for love and family is something I think everyone can relate to (orphan or no), and the contrast between her and the Japanese was so well done. To be honest,
...more
Kathy

I started reading, Love in Translation, right after I had finished, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. It seemed like an appropriate segue since in the previous book I learned so much about Japanese families and their culture. The author, Wendy Tokunaga, sent me a copy to read. Not really knowing what to expect – I did do my research though on the book – I found I truly enjoyed the storyline, the characters, particularly Celeste’s journey, the mystery surrounding the search
...more
Edoftheworld
I have never liked it when the heroine travels to a completely new country where she tries to adjust to the way of life there. But because the country this heroine travels to is Japan, and that Nippon wa daisuki!!! , I kinda enjoyed this book. Hehe. It is interesting to see how gaijins (foreigners) are looked upon in Japan.

Somehow, Celeste grows onto me. At the beginning, she was a weak character but slowly she does grow up a little. It is tenderly sweet to see her and Takuya interacting with o
...more
Melody
Honestly speaking, I could not remember when was the last time I had read a women's fiction and felt so madly in love with it. Yes, that was how I felt when reading Love in Translation by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, a new-to-me author but has now joined the rank of my favourite authors.

33-year-old Celeste Duncan feels her life is a blah. Her mother passed away when she was younger, and she did not know who her father was. She does not feel motivated about her editor career, and she feels her relatio
...more
Susan
Dec 15, 2009 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jean
I couldn't put Love in Translation down--except when I found myself laughing out loud so much that my family started giving me strange looks.

The plot revolves around Californian Celeste Duncan and her search for her last remaining family members--in Japan of all places--and clues as to the identity of her father. Celeste has an aunt by marriage who was Japanese, but hasn't seen her since she was still in grade school. When she receives a call to inform her that this aunt has passed away, Celest
...more
Maria
It was a really good book, up until a certain point (I won't spoil it for others). Then, after that certain point, the book just seemed to speed up, with everything happening at once, and no time for us to process all of it. The content of the book was really well-done though, I really enjoyed hearing about Japan, and reading about Celeste and Takuya. I felt that there were certain people whom didn't need to be talked about, which sort of brought the reader away from the main storyline, which wa ...more
Leya
This book is one of those rare books (lately) that I was instantly hooked from page one. I think it was a combination of the way it was written, the story itself and these amazing characters.

Celeste is on a journey to find herself, and maybe the possibility to find a long lost family member. Along the way she meets wonderful people: Mrs Kubota, her housemother, her want and her need to learn English, her pride in her son, the shame of her husband's hobby, and her fascination with a television s
...more
Shannon
Celeste is an American 30-something at somewhat of a crossroads in life, determined to find her place in the world. At exactly the moment when she needs it, a package arrives from a long lost relative that takes her from America to Tokyo to discover the Japanese roots she didn't know she had.

Little does Celeste know this journey is also about finding the life she wants and the love she needs. I felt she was a wonderfully drawn character, and you definitely root for her, even if at times you wan
...more
Diane Nagatomo
I really loved this book. Some things the author got entirely right--like how annoying Japanese television can be. Reading about Celeste's bumbling cultural mistakes were like a trip down memory lane-- every single foreigner in Japan can probably relate to the mortifying experience of wearing the toilet slippers into the living room. I also liked how Celeste bonded with her home stay mother--even though the mother was clearly an oddball (but quite endearing).

My only complaint is that somehow I f
...more
Kristin
A family member recommended I pick this up for a quick but cute read. It was a quick read and though I was excited to find something pertaining to life in Japan, it was disappointingly flat and boring.

As an American living in Japan myself, I found the references no more insightful than a Wikipedia article. I expected more of a personal glimpse but was left only with a brief and dull taste of what I know is a richly beautiful and interesting culture.

Tokunaga's writing style didn't jump out at me
...more
Veronica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
PatriciaV Davis
As much as I loved the novel, Midori by Moonlight which preceded this one, Love in Translation was even better. Ms. Tokunaga takes some of the same themes - cross-cultural romantic relationships and misunderstandings, a likeable, believable 'maiden in distress', a Japanese backdrop - and develops them much more. The descriptions of Japan and its people were vividly and objectively described, and all the characters,even the lesser ones, were complex and well-developed. Yet, the writing style appe ...more
Pygmy
Pretty good; better written than this author's other book Midori by Moonlight. Nevertheless, compared to Malena Watrous' novel "If You Follow Me" or Sara Becker's "American Fuji", there was something missing in the dialogue exchanges. Some pizazz, or that extra sprinkle of liveliness. Maybe the broken Engrish of the characters didn't sound engrishy enough...it felt like it could have been any Asian ethnicity, rather specifically Japanese. Additionally, the ending wrapped up so completely, that i ...more
Beth
Celeste, a young woman determined to find her place in life (and the world), is a wonderfully drawn character. Her journey to discover her roots takes her from San Jose to Japan and treats us to a wonderful story filled with a bit of mystery, a bit of family-tree sleuthing, and a great deal of heart.

Wendy Tokunaga’s descriptions of Japanese culture are vivid and enormously enjoyable. I was swept away and embraced by a culture that, before reading this book, I knew very little about.

Twists and s
...more
Sierra
Very interesting and enjoyable book. Celeste Duncan is an compelling and likable character. Her going to Japan was a great adventure and I felt like I was a part of it. I was transported to Japan every time I opened the book. I loved the little Japanese words and factoids. There were plenty of funny moments with the culture differences and language barriers. I don't recall anything I didn't like about the book. A very pleasant character-driven story that transports you to another country. It's a ...more
Evelien
Oh my god, I could not stop reading this book, I read it in just two days.

It's a love story, of course, but it also taught me many things about Japan, things I remember from taking a Japanese course a few years ago, and things that I have already talked about with my Japanese penpal.

Oh well, and the story is kind of cute. Especially since the main character's father turns to have a huge obsession with the Beatles. Hee, I can so relate. :)

Definitely recommended!! I can't believe I already finish
...more
Malena Watrous
My disclaimer (for the sake of reviewing integrity) is that I got to work with the author over two summers as she wrote her MFA thesis. But I say "work with" and not "teach," because Wendy was already a writer, and I was mostly a reader for her, and a lucky one at that. Celeste is a terrific character and I loved watching her discover her roots in Japan, a country that is dear to me and that Tokunaga never fails to bring to full and crazy life on the page. I am so excited to see this book out in ...more
Gabriela Lessa
Loved it. Tokunaga manages to balance it all so well: the discovery of a new world, the culture clash and funny anecdotes that come out of it, the exotic friend, the search for her family, the development of her singing and the discovery of love. It sounds like a lot to have in just one book, but Tokunaga manages to connect it all so well that it made me feel like there was not one tiny piece that could've been chopped off. Really a wonderful story and an inspiration for other multi-cultural rom ...more
Cris
Wonderful journey in rediscovering roots and inner self.
Elvia
I found this book interesting because it is about an American in Japan. I love learning about other cultures. I found an American living in Japan an interesting story. I did find it entertaining and it kept me rapt as the plot unwound. It was about a young American woman who goes to Japan to find some family. And she ends up finding a lot more. I like the way the author tries to describe the Japanese culture through American eyes.
The Styling Librarian
Love in Translation by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga – Realistic Fiction, Adult – I randomly picked this book up and read it in half a day. Haven’t read a ‘brain candy” adult book in quite a while. It was a tood story about a woman who drops everything to move to Japan and try to solve her missing father and aunt mystery. I enjoyed reading about her experiences trying to adapt to a new culture and community.
Peebee
The author is a friend of a friend who I met a couple of times when I lived in San Francisco, so I was looking forward to reading this. I was quite impressed, both with her crafting of the story, and the deft way in which she incorporated Japanese culture. I subtracted one star for the ending, which I thought was a little predictable and treacly. But all in all, an enjoying read.
Catherine  Mustread
Mar 16, 2010 Catherine Mustread rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: Wendy
Shelves: wendy, japan, fiction
Good story of finding love and family in an unexpected place -- Japan -- where Celeste goes on a whim, after receiving a box of mysterious family heirlooms. Bit too chicklit-ish for my taste, but a quick, humorous and entertaining read with a healthy and insightful dose of life for a 30ish American woman in Japan and her immersion in Japanese culture.
Caroline
A trip to Tokyo and a well written story - what more could I ask for? I loved feeling like I was in Japan while I was reading this book. The author is obviously very familiar with Tokyo and Japanese culture and this comes through in her characterization and description. A great read I recommend to anyone who loves travel mixed in with their women's fiction.
Suzanne
In Wendy Tokunaga's second novel, Love in Translation, American Celeste Duncan, a thirtysomething aspiring musician who was brought up in foster homes, goes to Japan, Land of Hello Kitty, to find out the truth out her father. Tokunaga strikes just the right balance between serious and screwball in this coming-of-age story for adults. Her best work yet.

Nova
I enjoyed this book. It is the story about a woman who is on a journey to find her father, and how she actually finds herself. It is a wonderful read. I liked reading Celeste's story and seeing her go from her relationship in America to a whole new beginning in Japan. How she found herself along with a father she never knew.
Yun Zhen
Quite a nice book that you can progress through at a nice readable pace. And occasionally quite intriguing as it displays the differences between Western and Japanese cultures, with a bit of quirky Japan more than the conventional Japan.
Lissa
Won novel from goodreads giveways
9/10

Wendy Tokunaga is a marvelous writer. I have nothing wrong to say about this novel.I finished this novel in a day and a half.

Enchanting story full of hope, wonder, and culture.

Jespera
This is about a woman who inherits some artifacts from a long lost aunt and decides to return them to the autnt's sister to see if she can learn more about who her father is. She winds up finding love and family.
Samhy
I had a great time from cover to cover.
A must-read for Westerners in Japan and, I believe, an interesting understanding of some of our feelings for Japanese readers.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • If You Follow Me
  • Now You're One of Us
  • Lost Girls and Love Hotels
  • Shaking Off the Dust
  • The Scent of Sake
  • American Fuji
  • Tiger Lily
  • The Pure Land
  • Sword
  • Turning Japanese
  • Summer of the Big Bachi (Mas Arai, #1)
  • Moonshadow: The Wrath of Silver Wolf (Moonshadow, #2)
  • The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P
  • The Last Concubine
  • Beyond the Blossoming Fields
  • Disciple of the Wind (Fated Blades, #3)
  • The Sinful Art of Revenge
  • My Girlfriend's a Geek (novel): Volume 1
280744
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga is the author of the novels, "Midori by Moonlight" and "Love in Translation" (both published by St. Martin's Press), and the original e-book novels, "Falling Uphill" and "His Wife and Daughters." She's also the author of the original nonfiction e-book, "Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband." Her short story "Love Right on the Yesterday" appears in the antho ...more
More about Wendy Tokunaga...
Midori by Moonlight Falling Uphill Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband No Kidding Niagara Falls

Share This Book