A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it's time for them to separate. For the moment it's a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, alone, she gets word that her ex-husband has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged southern Peloponnese. Reluctantly she agrees to go and search for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she's not even sure if she wants to find him. Adrift in the wild and barren landscape, she traces the failure of their relationship, and finds that she understands less than she thought about the man she used to love. A story of intimacy, infidelity and compassion, A Separation is about the gulf that divides us from the lives of others and the narratives we create to mask our true emotions. As the narrator reflects upon her love for a man who may never have been what he appeared, Kitamura propels us into the experience of a woman on the brink of catastrophe. A Separation is a riveting masterpiece of absence and presence that will leave the reader astonished, and transfixed.
A brilliant novel about the end of a marriage from a luminous young talent
A novel so seamless, that follows its path with such consequence, that even minor deviations seem loaded with meaning. Wonderful. -- Karl Ove Knausgaard A Separation is riveting, unsettling and beautifully written. Katie Kitamura really is the business. -- Roddy Doyle Consider Katie Kitamura a literary heavyweight in the making. Vogue Kitamura's protagonist is a smart, accomplished, contemporary version of that ancient literary figure, the unreliable narrator ... A Separation leaves you intrigued, impressed -- Kate Clanchy Guardian Gripping ... the precision of Kitamura's prose is nothing short of extraordinary. She writes with a piercing clarity picking apart the detail of her characters' emotions and actions with the meticulousness of a forensic expert analysing a crime scene, or a medical examiner conducting an autopsy ... There's so much to admire here; such delight to be taken in the composition of these clauses, the way in which they allow one to visualise the pace of the underlying though processes. Not to mention the fact that Kitamura's astonishing decision to elucidate instincts and impulses-not least to first describe, then identity-is inspired ... She fearlessly strips back facades and plunges depths, as a result of which A Separation is a beautifully written powerhouse of a novel that defies all expectations. -- Lucy Scholes Independent The voice is strong - distinctive, inviting while also remote, expressive of an emotional limbo ... finely executed ... Multiple scenes are artfully articulated, and Kitamura is skilful at describing fine shades of feeling ... the prose is often elegant ... A Separation successfully evokes a highly specific mood: a lostness, a dislocation, a suspension, a mourning ... Kitamura strikes a haunting note -- Lionel Shriver FT 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 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 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 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. -- Rivka Galchen Electrifying... I read it in one breathless sitting. -- Alex Preston Guardian 2017 fiction picks Kitamura's novels do new things with form I hadn't thought possible... A Separation will win awards and it's about time. -- Nikesh Shukla Gripping yet thoughtful psychological novel ... an absorbing, reflective read ... it builds a tension that kept me hooked Stylist A memorable, unsettling novel ... Insights into intimacy and infatuation roil beneath the surface of Kitamura's spare prose as she meticulously dissects the emotions that reverberate in the wake of infidelity. -- Hephzibah Anderson Mail on Sunday Kitamura delivers a powerful story ... as the mystery questions how deeply we can ever know each other. -- Anthony Cummins Metro Beautifully written -- Leaf Arbuthnot Sunday Times
Katie Kitamura is based in New York and London. She has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Wired and the Guardian. She was a finalist in the 2010 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award for her debut novel, The Longshot. Her second novel Gone to the Forest was published to widespread critical acclaim, and was a book of the year in both the Financial Times and the New Yorker.