Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
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. When he goes missing in a remote region of rugged southern Greece, she reluctantly agrees to go look for him, still keeping their estrangement to herself. As her search comes to a shocking breaking point, she discovers she understands less than she thought she did about her relationship and the man she used to love.
A searing, suspenseful story of intimacy and infidelity, A Separation lays bare the gulf that divides us from the inner lives of others. With exquisitely cool precision, Katie Kitamura propels us into the experience of a woman on the edge, with a fiercely mesmerizing story to tell.
I simply did not click with this book. It is marketed incorrectly, billed as a mystery fraught with suspense and intrigue. This novel is not that – it is much more about the writing than it is about the plot. There is essentially no plot at all in this novel.
The lack of plot is not necessarily a deal breaker for me; I can appreciate stories simply for their writing, if it measures up. Katie Kitamura is a good writer, though her style certainly avoids punctuation whenever possible. Her main character (whose name we never learn) is intelligent and well-spoken. However, that does not entirely work to Kitamura’s advantage – the main character comes off as distant and cold. Everything she tells us feels too calculated. We are inside her head, the closest to her thoughts anyone is ever going to get, but it feels like she never truly lets us in.
There’s maybe something interesting in the way Kitamura muses on marriage and separation, the gray area between wife and ex-wife, but nothing I felt was extremely unique or new. There are some great novels that explore the deterioration of a marriage and this is simply not one of them.
I will not rule out new Kitamura novels out in the future, but I will not be rereading A Separation any time soon.
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