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A Separation

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2.89  ·  Rating details ·  6,901 Ratings  ·  1,083 Reviews
A mesmerizing, psychologically taut novel about a marriage's end and the secrets we all carry.

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, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greec
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Hardcover, 231 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Riverhead Books
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Alison Hardtmann If you're worried this book will prove insufficiently entertaining, I'd skip it. I think James Patterson is coming out with a new one and that should…moreIf you're worried this book will prove insufficiently entertaining, I'd skip it. I think James Patterson is coming out with a new one and that should have the plot and adventure you're looking for.

This is a quiet, well-written novel that is not for everyone. If it seems like it's not in your wheelhouse, choose something else that is. (less)

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Elyse
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh...this is an interesting book. I didn't want to put the book down. It's also a little odd. The prose is somewhat hypnotic. The writing is crisp-undecorated-but striking.

A young woman receives a phone call from her mother-in-law wanting to speak to her son. She says she doesn't know where he is. Isabella is upset and has been trying to reach his cell phone for days. Last she talked to him --he mentioned that he and his wife were taking a trip to Greece.
Isabella then says, "well you are here i
...more
Larry H
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm between 3 and 3.5 stars here.

I've ranted previously about how much I dislike when books are marketed as "the next..." So rather than rant, let me get the record straight right off the bat: despite what you might have seen, Katie Kitamura's A Separation is not "...the literary Gone Girl of 2017." I liked the former a little more than the latter, but I didn't feel Kitamura's book was rooted in a mystery as Gillian Flynn's was, so if that's what you're looking for, this book isn't for you
...more
Carol
A Separation is an exquisitely-written ride to nowhere. And we are riding sidecar with a main character who thinks alot, but -- even as we turn the last page -- still doesn't know what she wants. If writing is more important to you than plot, as it is for me, generally, this could be the novel for you. Don't say I didn't warn you, though.
Diane S ☔
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
A young woman, eight years younger and separated from said husband, a man who is unable to remain faithful. She has agreed, on his request, to keep this a secret form the time being, not even letting his doting mother and father know. She is surprised to find out he has traveled to Greece, ostensibly to research his next book about mourning customs. This she learns when she receives a phone call from his mother, saying she was worried that she hasn't heard from him. To assuage his mothers fears ...more
Esil
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A Separation was not what I expected, but I ended up liking it once I got in the right head space. As described, this is a book about infidelity and a marriage that falls apart. But what surprised me was the way in which the topic is approached. It's a very subjective meditative piece written from the perspective of the unnamed wife. Following her recent separation from her husband Christopher, she is called upon by her mother in law to go find her ex on a Greek Island. Once there, the narrator ...more
Linda
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
The protagonist talked continuously throughout the entire novel, only stopping, when I closed the book every few hours for a much needed break. Not one other character said a word. I never felt like I was reading--strange feeling to have, when you're holding a book in your hands.

The author took a physiological approach to her writing and dissected all aspects of every observation, e.g., thoughts, gestures, movements, feelings, turning an emotional situation into a sterile analysis.

Some might loo
...more
Taryn
Between two people, there will always be room for failures of imagination.


3.5 Stars. The narrator receives an urgent call from her mother-in-law, wanting to know why her son Christopher isn't answering her calls during his travels in Greece. The narrator and her unfaithful husband have been separated for six months, but they've decided to keep it a secret for now. Rather than admit they've separated and that she isn't privy to her soon-to-be ex-husband's travels, the narrator agrees to travel
...more
Jessica
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
For some reason, this book has a ton of holds on it at my local library and fairly middling reviews here on Goodreads. That’s not always an incongruous thing, but it still strikes me as odd. If people are clamoring to read something, I would expect it to have a generally positive response. This doesn’t and as someone who has a strong interest in book marketing [I work in marketing for academic books, but would love to pursue a career doing it for trade books], I’m incredibly fascinated by things ...more
Roman Clodia
Feb 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gosh, this is ponderous! Essentially plotless, this is an internal monologue as a woman, separated from her philandering husband, goes in search of him in Greece and realises that their relationship is completely over (view spoiler). That's it. While she meets some people who knew him in Greece and uncovers a mild stack of porn on his computer (she was his wife, his secret fantasies are no great revelation to her), nothing happens. Other people's speech is r ...more
Maria Bikaki
Apr 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_in_2018
Κριτική βιβλίου. Ναι μάλιστα. 1. Ωραίο εξώφυλλο. 2. Ωραίο εξώφυλλο. 3. Δε θυμάμαι ωραίο εξώφυλλο είπα;
Κιταμούρα Κ(ο)ίτα να γράψεις κανα βιβλίο της προκοπής και τα ξαναλέμε. Θανατηφόρα βαρετό.
Cher
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars - It was alright, an average book.

Written in a first person narrative (groan), this novel is a constant inner monologue of the narrator, which created a cold and distant reading experience. The author also chose to follow in the minimal punctuation style that has become so popular of late. Thankfully I read this as an audiobook or I would not have finished it. I find the new trend of dropping quotation marks and other formatting to make for tedious reading and typically will choose a m
...more
Wen
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Definitely my kind of book…
It was a lazy winter Saturday morning. I was sitting on the bed and sipping cappuccino. Peaceful guitar music from the speakers was meandering through me…
The music was serene with a touch of melancholy, echoing the undertone of the book, and created just the right ambiance for me.
A wife, upon the request of her mother-in-law, went to a deserted town in Greece in search of her estranged husband…
Kitamura’s gentle and flowing prose invited me to join the narrator, the
...more
Edward  Goetz
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, literature
This is a bit of an unusual book. Although the plot is straightforward and simple, the prose is not. The depth and detail the author put into each chapter, as well as the way she developed the characters so fully, was what made the book special to me.

Isabella's every move and observation is so detailed, you feel like you are in Greece with her, seeing and feeling what she is experiencing. The way she explains the other characters, their personalities, faults, and actions, brings the narrative to
...more
Λίνα Θωμάρεη
Readathon 2017 20/26: Ένα βιβλίο που εκδόθηκε πρώτη φορά το 17

Ήρθε η ώρα της κρίσης.
Πρώτα από όλα να δώσω τα συγχαρητήρια στην ομάδα που επιμελήθηκε το εξώφυλλο. Πραγματικά υπέροχο.

Το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο των 225 σελίδων στην ουσία είναι μια μονόπλευρη άποψη της πρωταγωνίστριας. Μέσα σε αυτό το βιβλίο φιλοσοφεί αναλύοντας τα πάντα ... και σε αυτό το σημείο με έχασε. Όλο το βιβλίο είναι συνεχόμενες υποθέσεις, σκέψεις και περιστατικά του παρελθόντος, φιλοσοφημένες όσο δεν πάει άλλο και όλη αυτή η κ
...more
Barbara
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it

The unnamed narrator of 'A Separation' is a literary translator in London who's been separated from her husband Christopher for six months. By mutual consent the couple haven't yet announced their estrangement, probably to keep the news from Christopher's interfering mother. This makes it awkward when Christopher's mother, Isabella, calls the narrator, anxious because she can't reach her son.

Christopher's been in Greece for several weeks, researching a book about mourning practices, and Isabell
...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Novels about marriages gone sour are countless; a persuasive one that stands out is achieved through character, approach, style, and execution. Kitamura realizes a compelling drama, a melancholy and meditative narrative of marriage and mystery, a sustained story of suspense through quagmires and restraint.

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 call
...more
Chaya Nebel
Feb 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
The premise is promising as a mystery novel: a wife separated from her husband is enlisted to cross the ocean to find him on behest of his mother. However, what develops is less plot development and more an internal monologue, a treatise on the nature of relationships, love, and the ambiguities and ambivalences of separation. It has the makings of a nice Highsmithian mystery, with a slow build-up of what seem like clues to the husband's story -- a disheveled hotel room, an unsavory ad at the bac ...more
Rebecca Foster
The narrator has separated from her cheating husband, Christopher, but her in-laws are still in the dark about their new status. So when she gets a call from her mother-in-law saying Christopher has gone missing while researching a book in Greece, she feels obligated to go looking for him. The whole novel is a kind of breathless monologue explaining the unnamed narrator’s quest for facts about her husband. It’s not punctuated as much as I would like – it’s mostly just strings of phrases connecte ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
‘A Separation’ is “An empty and ridiculous...” book.

This novel moves with plodding slow steps. I thought it a stifled and smothered narrative. I have noticed though there is an avid audience of admirers for pseudo-intellectual/literary books such as ‘A Separation’. Maybe depressed genteel readers will feel they can safely explore their own buried rage about their failing marriages without feeling too sordid or explicit or exposed by living vicariously through this discreet novel.

For the rest of
...more
Blair
A woman and her unfaithful husband have recently separated by mutual agreement. Although the woman – our unnamed narrator – is in a new relationship, her ex-husband, Christopher, has asked her to keep the separation quiet for the time being. So when Christopher's mother Isabella calls with the news that he has disappeared while on a research trip in Europe, the narrator is placed in a quandary. Ultimately, she decides not to tell Christopher's family of their split, and accepts Isabella's offer ...more
Christina Pilkington
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok

For a short audiobook that should have taken me a few days to listen to, this one took me 12 days. At the halfway point of this book, I found myself listening to YouTube videos, podcasts- pretty much anything else I could find other than this novel.

That sounds pretty harsh, so I should back up and say, I really enjoyed the first 25% of this book. We read from the POV of a woman who has just received word that her estranged husband has gone missing while visiting Greece and that she needs to go
...more
Tooter
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
Amanda
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of mixed reviews on this one and I understand why it didn't work for some people but I quite enjoyed it.

The whole book takes place inside the main characters head which obviously leads to a unreliable narrator situation. This is definitely not a page turning thriller (although there is a mystery element to it).
George K.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 21st-century
Βαθμολογία: 5/10

Επιτέλους το τελείωσα! Συνήθως βιβλία τέτοιου μεγέθους τα τελειώνω σε δύο "καθισιές" το πολύ, ανεξάρτητα αν έχω να κάνω κάποια δουλειά ή αν έχω να βγω έξω με φίλους. Όμως η ανάγνωση του συγκεκριμένου βιβλίου κράτησε αρκετά παραπάνω, για τους εξής λόγους: Μου φάνηκε αρκετά βαρετό και κουραστικό, πολύ μονότονο και ανούσιο. Η αφήγηση είναι σε πρώτο πρόσωπο, αλλά ουσιαστικά δεν μαθαίνουμε τίποτα για την αφηγήτρια, παρά μόνο όσα έχουν να κάνουν με τον ηλίθιο και αποτυχημένο γάμο της.
...more
Jessica Sullivan
Of all the dozens of books that have been compared to Gone Girl, this is perhaps the most inaccurate comparison yet. And that's okay; I didn't read it because I wanted another Gone Girl, but I do want to clarify for anyone reading this review that A Separation is by no means a thrilling page-turner.

In fact, it's actually quite boring...and yet somehow simultaneously fascinating.

A young woman and her philandering husband Christopher have been secretly separated for six months when he goes missing
...more
Ehren Meditz
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
The cover of A Separation reflects the tension between the book you want it to be and the book it really is: the bland coldness of the title obscured by vibrant flames. Unlike other reviewers, I wasn't expecting a more cerebral Gone Girl, a book I hated, and wasn't much interested in a whodunit or a page-turner, yet A Separation doesn't make up for its disinterest in plot with a unique or insightful narrative voice either. To reveal the inner mind of her passive and aloof protagonist, she relies ...more
Eileen
Apr 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
A complete waste of time. Hard to imagine that this wordy, verbose book got published. Paragraphs upon paragraphs were dedicated to an exploration of feelings. It was a short book but it was painful to read. Perhaps an editor could have shortened the entire concept of the novel into 200 words for a magazine.

Note to self: avoid this author.
Vasilis Manias
Not my tempo...
Charles Finch
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Very smart, curious, well-written book, but weirdly and deeply bourgeois, and full of false wisdom - proclamatory and sententious, despite its asceticism
Elaine
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I had high hopes at the outset of this book. A very atmospheric opening, and a good set up - a much cheated-on wife comes to find her missing and estranged husband in rural Greece. I had read much about the "unreliable narrator" aspect of the book, something I always find fun, but in the end, despite some very fine writing, the book left me emotionally cold and feeling like all the build up and menace was to absolutely no avail. A lot of breadcrumbs, but not even a trail, no less a cottage in th ...more
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Tournament of Books: This topic has been closed to new comments. 1st Pairing: A Separation &/vs. The Night Ocean 27 168 Jul 05, 2017 04:20AM  
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Cosmo Readers: A SEPARATION by Katie Kitamura 1 20 Mar 12, 2017 09:43AM  
190 followers
Katie Kitamura is the author of Gone to the Forest (2012) and The Longshot (2009), both finalists for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. Gone to the Forest was named a best book of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, and New Yorker online.

The recipient of a Lannan Foundation fellowship, Katie has written for publications includ
...more
More about Katie Kitamura

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“How many times are we offered the opportunity to rewrite the past and therefore the future, to reconfigure our present personas - a widow rather than a divorcee, faithful rather faithless? The past is subject to all kinds of revision, it is hardly a stable field, and every alteration in the past dictates an alteration in the future. Even a change in our conception of the past can result in a different future, different to the one we planned.” 4 likes
“People were capable of living their lives in a state of permanent disappointment, there were plenty of people who did not marry the person they hoped to marry, much less live the life they hoped to live, other people invented new dreams to replace the old ones, finding fresh reasons for discontent.” 2 likes
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