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Gone to the Forest: A Novel Paperback – August 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Printing edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451656645
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451656640
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #904,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

What Kitamura summons brilliantly is the sensation of a repressed and repressive society laid bare - erotically, psychologically and politically. She writes with equal authority about the weight of a man’s gaze on a disrobing woman and the sensation of being exposed by history’s glare … Gone to the Forest confirms Kitamura’s prodigious talent.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“A startling, discomfiting work, written in razor-sharp prose. J.M. Coetzee’s work comes to mind, as does Michael Haneke’s, but there’s a sweet coldness here that is all Kitamura’s. This is her second novel, a brilliant book early in what will surely be a major career.” (Teju Cole Financial Times, "Best Books of 2012")

"Darkly seductive" (Vogue UK)

“Hypnotic prose [with] flashes of unexpected beauty… so spare as to almost be incantatory… It marvelously suggests the chaotic, contradictory and highly changeable way the mind works…. Gone to the Forest, in just 200 pages, floats, unfolds and astonishes.”
— Marie Myung-Ok Lee, San Francisco Chronicle on Gone to the Forest

“Kitamura offers echoes of J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace,coolly chronicling the family’s undoing as it tracks against the politicalturmoil ripping through the nation.”
New York Times on Gone to the Forest

“A ruthless, controlled style distinguishes this novel about a man and his oppressive father in an unnamed colonial country that’s about to blow... [Kitamura’s] style reminds one of Marguerite Duras and Herta Müller—writers who have had to reckon with power in the colonial Indochina and the repressive Romania, respectively. Power is the subject, and the execution is precise.” (The Daily Beast)

“Kitamura’s words are tough, and her characters are tied to the tails of wounded beasts: mother countries, the land itself, and hierarchies both out of steam and out of date... Kitamura makes the end of history—many histories—seem both casual and immediate.”
—Sasha Frere-Jones, NewYorker.com on Gone to the Forest

"Katie Kitamura expertly melds the personal and political in one of the year's most unforgettable novels."
—Largehearted Boy on Gone to the Forest

“Striking… Beautifully written… Kitamura’s carefully wrought characters are captivating.” (Hyphen Magazine)

"Gone to the Forest is Katie Kitamura's second novel, about a family and the cost of European colonization in an unknown time and place... that recalls, at first and most often, J.M. Coetzee's South Africa. Kitamura writes with fine tension and clipped grace. Her observations are subtle and sharp. The volcano's importance in the story evokes Aime Cesaire's poem Corps Perdu, which begins, 'Moi, qui Krakatoa ...' and is a soaring command, in the wake of decolonization, for 'the islands to be.' [She is a] rising literary star." (The Spectator)

“In this wondrous tale of both a family and a country’s dissolution, Kitamura brings readers into an unspecified time in an unnamed colonial country ... Kitamura, with spare, mesmerizing prose, paints a memorable vision of emotional chaos echoed by geologic and political turmoil.”
Publishers Weekly, (starred review) on Gone to the Forest

“[Kitamura’s] unidentified place and time, and the actions and motivations of these three human cyphers, ensure that readers will be pondering Gone to the Forest long after they finish that final sentence.” (Booklist)

"The death-throes of a colonial world captured in dark, obsessive prose, punctuated by images of strange, surreal beauty: the falling ash, the river of dead fish. One thinks at times of both Coetzee and Gordimer, but Kitamura is very much her own writer, and makes you feel keenly the tragedy of her three lost souls."
— Salman Rushdieon Gone to the Forest

"A watchful and magnificent work. From the first page, Kitamura is in complete control, both of the prose and of the story it carries. She is a skilled hunter and we are her helpless prey." (Teju Cole, author of Open City)

"Gone to the Forest is a mesmerizing novel, one whose force builds inexorably as its story unfolds in daring, unexpected strokes. Kitamura’s prose brings to mind Cormac McCarthy or Jean Rhys, but the music of these lines is all her own—lyrical, sharp-edged, spare, and unafraid. Be warned: you’ll find yourself reading long past midnight, out of breath and wide awake. This is a bold and powerful book."
(Julie Orringer, author of The Invisible Bridge)

“Katie Kitamura is a major talent. It is not often I read a book of controlled, illuminating, prose and it is even more rare that the story therein survives the style. I was reminded of the writings of Herta Müller and J.M. Coetzee, both important storytellers of our time and vanguards of form. Kitamura's spare, elegant and affecting work in Gone to the Forest brings the reader in and out of the nexus of three souls caught in a nameless land, in a nameless time, and gently observes as they try to give name to their relation to one another, to the land, to the times and to themselves. Gone to the Forest is a book of atmospheres and moods, details and desires and Kitamura handles the nuances with the grace and confidence of a writer beyond her years.” (Laleh Khadivi, author of The Age of Orphans)

“I have been in a daze ever since I finished this book. Gone to the Forest is superb. It is so beautifully written, so balanced - there isn't a spare sentence or word in the whole thing. Utterly distinctive, it is almost allegorical in its force. Kitamura is of the best living writers I've read, and she gives the dead ones a run for their money.” (Evie Wyld, author of After the Fire a Still Small Voice)

“Gone to the Forest is a stark, urgent, beautiful novel. Katie Kitamura merges history and fable to create an explosive narrative about people trapped by terrible events they cannot control, but in which they are also deeply implicated. Its themes are ambitious—guilt and innocence, power and submission, meaning and nonsense. The characters and images of Gone to the Forest continue to haunt me, a tribute to their lasting emotional power and their creator’s extraordinary gifts.” (Siri Hustvedt, author of The Summer Without Men)

"With spare and deliberateprose, Kitamura brings this fable of power's illusions to a stunning,breathtaking conclusion. Along the way ... she shows why she has earnedcomparison to great writers like Nadine Gordimer and Herta Müller. Gone tothe Forest is a beautiful, indelibledepiction of the horror of primal impulses." (Shelf Awareness)

"[Kitamura's] new novel, like “The Longshot,” pries open, with rare insight and compassion, the dangerous vulnerability, the wounding woundedness, that defines her men....Kitamura displays an uncanny talent for getting inside the body talk of unrevealing people...What Kitamura summons brilliantly is the sensation of a repressed and repressive society laid bare — erotically, psychologically and politically. She writes with equal authority about the weight of a man’s gaze on a disrobing woman and the sensation of being exposed by history’s glare....[Gone to the Forest] confirms Kitamura’s prodigious talent." (The New York Times Book Review)

About the Author

Katie Kitamura is based in New York. She has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Wired, and The Guardian, and is a regular contributor to Frieze.

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gail on January 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend for readers who loved The Road and The Reluctant Fundamentalist. It is so much an allegory for colonialism: characters are named but who they are is barely a part of the story. What they are--the archetypes--are the story. Nameless place. Unspecified time. Beautiful. Brief. Ominous even when you can see what's to come. Deep and layered.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was troubled by this more than anything: it bore such a striking similarity to Elfriede Jelinek's Lust that i couldn't finish it
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By nigel p bird on September 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I read The Longshot a while ago and was hugely impressed.

Buying a copy of Gone To The Forest was a must for me and I'm pretty glad that I did.

It's a strong and disturbing book that follows the lives of a small family and community who live on a huge piece of land that was claimed by Tom's father (the old man) when nobody else seemed to own it.

At the opening, we meet Tom in extraordinary circumstances. He's been deserted. The house is empty. A radio on the porch informs locals that the revolution is on its way. There's immediate intrigue and tension. The tension mounts when Tom's father brings along a guest for dinner, the rather wayward niece of landowning neighbours, a lady whom it becomes clear is to become Tom's bride. In typical, sparse tones, the tale is told:

"He takes the girl fishing and a week later they are engaged. He does not know how the engagement happens. One minute they are fishing and the next Mr Wallace and Mrs Wallace are standing with his father on the veranda. There are champagne bottles being opened."

Tom's very wise when it comes to the land, farming and fishing. At everything else he's rather inept. He doesn't really understand people and his intuitions are proved wrong at every turn. His decisions are always flimsy and easily influenced and he has blinkers on to what is going on in the world. Like the story itself, he is pretty much confined to his house in this claustrophobic tale.

The characters in the story seem very distant. They don't drive the story; rather they seem to simply exist from day to day. It can make the read difficult at times, this distance, and being pulled by the nose by the plot is not entirely satisfying.
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By E. S. Witthoeft on January 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was sitting in my Kindle. I didn't remember why I bought it, but I must have read a positive review. I started reading it in the afternoon and despite its allegory qualities and seemingly slow-moving action, I was compelled to keep reading and finished it the same evening. It's a slow-starting story about settlers in an unnamed country where the government and indigenous peoples are seizing land (I kept thinking the former Rhodesia). But it definitely builds and the ending is worth it. I think Katie Kitamura's prose is crisp and clean. I would recommend this book as something out of the ordinary, but worth your time.
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