- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books (February 7, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039957610X
- ISBN-13: 978-0399576102
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 103 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Separation: A Novel Hardcover – February 7, 2017
This month's Book With Buzz: "Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A thriller packed full of secrets and a twisty story that never stops - from the bestselling author of "The Couple Next Door." See more
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Named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Huffington Post, The Guardian, and The Millions.
“Kitamura is a writer with a visionary, visual imagination… In A Separation, [she] has made consciousness her territory. The book is all mind, and an observant, taut, astringent mind it is.” —The New Yorker
“A slow burn of a novel that gathers its great force and intensity through careful observation and a refusal to accept old, shopworn narratives of love and loss.” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
"Thrilling." —New York Magazine
“Unsettling… Kitamura traces the narrator’s thoughts in sentences striking for their control and lucidity, their calm surface belied by the instability lurking beneath… The more the narrator tells us, the less we trust her. And the less we trust her, the more this hypnotic novel compels us to confront the limits of what we, too, can know.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
“A novel so seamless, that follows its path with such consequence, that even minor deviations seem loaded with meaning. Wonderful.” —Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of My Struggle
“Accomplished… a coolly unsettling work.” —New York Times Book Review
“Kitamura’s prose gallops, combining Elena Ferrante-style intricacies with the tensions of a top-notch whodunit.” —Elle
“Kitamura weaves a novel of quiet power, mostly due to a narrative voice that is so subtly commanding—so effortlessly self-aware and perceptive, teeming with dry yet empathetic humor—that it’s a challenge not to follow her journey in a single sitting.” —Harper's Bazaar
“Katie Kitamura breathes new life into the theme of marital breakdown.” —The New Republic
“[A]n atmospheric and emotionally sophisticated novel that reads like a taut Patricia Highsmith thriller.” —BBC
“The burnt landscape, the disappearance of a man, the brilliantly cold, precise, and yet threatening, churning tone of the narrator—make A Separation an absolutely mesmerizing work of art.” —Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers
"Katie Kitamura is a visionary.... A Separation is a poised literary thriller on the outside and an investigation of interiority and the faulty narratives we assign to the world on the inside." —LitHub
"A Separation looks poised to be the literary Gone Girl of 2017." —The Millions
"A Separation displays Kitamura’s stylistic control once again.... Violence of all kinds, not just against other bodies but against other minds, remains Kitamura’s quarry. ‘A Separation’ proves that few stalk such game more patiently or more powerfully.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Unnerving... taut with quiet suspense.... It is wonderful to read a book that respects its readers in this way; Kitamura allows our imaginations to do much of the work.” —NPR
“[A] slow-burn psychological novel, which rakes the embers of betrayal to find grief smoldering underneath… An absorbing tale.” —Boston Globe
“This novel has everything I love in a book: love, loss, a journey, and stunning writing.” —Martha Stewart
"Spell-binding" —Real Simple
“Prepare to feel, well, everything – this is a raw look at an emotionally charged life event.” —Marie Claire
“A contemplative and lyrical narrative... A Separation will transfix you as powerfully as the Mediterranean vistas that are its backdrop.” —Harper's Bazaar (The Best New Books of 2017, So Far)
"Stylistically ambitious and psychologically rich… A Separation is a work of great intensity and originality… There are deft meditations on the art of translation and the ritual of mourning, and sharp insight into what binds and divides lovers.... This is the book that elevates Kitamura to a different league.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Profound and gripping. I had that rare sense of feeling like I was in a creation specifically made out of words, that couldn't have been made out of any other substance. Kitamura combines the calm complexity of Joseph Conrad with the pacing and reveal of Patricia Highsmith. This novel is a wonder and a pleasure.” —Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances and Little Labors
“Told through a chilling first-person narration, A Separation explores the distance and intimacy that comes with searching for someone you are separated from and the grief that such a hunt can carry.” —Mashable
"A Separation opens up fissures of ambiguity in emotional experiences too often misunderstood as monolithic—grief, desire, estrangement—and plumbs these crevices for all their complexities. It has both urgency and afterglow: I read it quickly, but didn’t stop thinking about it for a long time once I was done." —Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams
“Secrets make up the plot and theme of [A Separation].... There is a crime and certainly a twist, but the discoveries and resolutions are internal, existential.” —Vulture
“[T]hrilling domestic noir…smart, spare…Kitamura gives us a book that’s worth reading for its inventive cadences alone. And there’s more to it than that: surprising turns and honest thoughts on the complexity of loss.” —Huffington Post
“[An] intimate, psychological mystery.” —Boston Globe
"[M]ark your calendar for sleeplessness, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll read it straight through without stopping…Kitamura’s spare language somehow seems barely able to control the emotion it signifies.” —LitHub
“Tautly austere, lyrical and jarring...For readers seeking profound examinations of challenging relationships . . . Kitamura’s oeuvre will be a compelling discovery.” —Library Journal [STARRED REVIEW]
"A spare and stunning portrait of a marital estrangement... [B]uilds into a hypnotic meditation on infidelity and the unknowability of one's spouse. In precise and muted prose, the entire story unspools in the coolly observant mind of a young woman... A minutely observed novel of infidelity unsettles its characters and readers." —Kirkus [STARRED REVIEW]
“Brilliantly written and reminiscent of Gone Girl.” —InStyle
“Unlike every other half-baked thriller with a female protagonist making the same claim, this one might actually deliver. Elegant prose makes all the difference.” —Refinery29
“At once cool and burning, Kitamura’s immersive, probing psychological tale benefits from its narrator’s precise observations and nimble use of language.” —Booklist
"Kitamura is a major talent." —The Boston Globe
"Hemingway's returned to life—and this time, he's a woman." —Tom McCarthy
"A mesmerizing novel, one whose force builds inexorably as its story unfolds in daring, unexpected strokes... 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
"A watchful and magnificent work. From the first page, Kitamura is in complete control, both of the prose and the story it carries. She is a skilled hunter and we are her helpless prey." —Teju Cole
About the Author
Katie Kitamura is a critic and novelist living in New York City. She is the author of Gone to the Forest and The Longshot, both of which were finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. A recipient of a Lannan Residency Fellowship, Kitamura has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, BOMB, Triple Canopy, and is a regular contributor to Frieze.
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Top customer reviews
Without giving away the unfolding, it is difficult to critique this book. There are flaws and certainly lengths, particularly toward the end. I can understand the need to draw out the emotions and state of mind of the character; I can imagine the pulls in all directions. Yet, there are redundancies and stretches that could have been avoided.
That said, I am typically not a fan of this genre, but I have loved this experience and I am willing to repeat it with this author.
Greek culture includes professional "mourners" who are hired to express grief for loved ones. Maybe a good idea
An unnamed London woman in her late thirties, a translator of foreign works, is separated from her writer husband, Christopher, a charismatic charmer and womanizer. After her mother-in-law calls in a desperate attempt to find him in Greece (she has tracked him to a locale and hotel), and begs the narrator to go there, Christopher’s wife decides to use this as an opportunity to ask him for a divorce in person. Their separation has remained a secret, at Christopher’s urging. But now the translator is ready to find and confront him, and to get her life back to something resembling normal.
When the narrator arrives at the luxury hotel in a quaint and rural fishing village, she learns that he left for a side trip, although his belongings remain intact. They accommodate her to stay and wait for his return. In the meantime, her discomforts at the resort hotel accumulate, despite the air of generous hospitality. A receptionist, Maria, glares at her with a mixture of curiosity and hostility. There’s a driver, Stefano, whose cagey politeness and inscrutability makes her wary. Each interaction with a hotel employee increases her suspicion and sense of shame. Her guard is up, and as the days pass, she dwells more and more on her memories, conjectures, shame, and fears. And where did Christopher go?
The passive tone of the book superbly parallels the narrator’s equivalent passivity, creating tension as her suspicions and torment leak out of every pore, even as she rigidly maintains her ostensible self-contained poise.
What gives this book so much sustainability and depth is what goes through the narrator’s mind--an intimacy and immediacy, teased out of passivity, and ratcheted up with Christopher’s absence. In fact, his absence is a dire presence—the “here but not here” X factor that surrounds the narrator’s concerns. And her namelessness a thing suggesting her invisibility, like her work. “Translation is not unlike an act of channeling, you write and you do not write the words.” “…translation’s potential for passivity appealed to me…I could have been a translator or a medium...”
During this time that the narrator spends with no husband, she is also relieved at the delay in confronting him. She is full of contradictions, even as she has a new and loving boyfriend waiting for her at home. As a reader, her reticence and her repression, as well as her desperation and ruminations riveted me. This may be the most inquisitive period of her life, as she begins to mine the many facets that she formerly ignored. “…between two people, there will always be room for failures of imagination.”
Most recent customer reviews
This was an intriguing debut, but not a book to my liking... One review called it the 'literary Gone Girl.Read more