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 Greece; she reluctantly 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 landscape, she traces the disintegration of their relationship, and discovers she understands less than she thought about the man she used to love.
A Separation by Katie Kitamura
Publication Date: February 7, 2017 by Riverhead Books
Beer Pairing: Brewery Legitimus
It’s been a solid 24 hours since I finished A Separation and I’m still not completely sure how I feel. Kitamura’s prose took some getting used to and her writing style is what ultimately kept me from fully engaging in the novel. There were moments where the narrator’s thought process would stray and a full page or two would be dedicated to something that felt so mundane in comparison to everything else that was going on around her. While blunt at times, there were also sections that seemed so verbose and overstated that I found myself needing to reread passages in order to make sure I didn’t miss anything of importance.
There were aspects of A Separation that I DID enjoy. There was something delightfully claustrophobic about reading an entire novel through the thoughts and observations of just one character – not quite a stream of consciousness, but a similar idea. Ultimately, this made the novel more of a meditation on relationships and despite my clash with Kitamura’s style, I found the book’s development intriguing overall.
I find I tend to read books “seasonally” and despite the novel’s cover art and setting (late summer/early fall in Greece) I wonder if I would have a different opinion if I chose to read A Separation in the darker, colder months when I tend to prefer more contemplative literature.