Join the HCSF Reading Group to discuss Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

Sunday, March 17, 2024
4:30-6:00 pm PST
All Zoom

Zoom links will be emailed to registrants at least twice before the meeting.

HCSF Members Free, but RSVP required
Non-Members $10
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Katie Kitamura
240 pages
An interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court. A woman of many languages and identities, she is looking for a place to finally call home.  She’s drawn into simmering personal dramas: her lover, Adriaan, is separated from his wife but still entangled in his marriage. Her friend Jana witnesses a seemingly random act of violence, a crime the interpreter becomes increasingly obsessed with as she befriends the victim’s sister. And she’s pulled into an explosive political controversy when she’s asked to interpret for a former president accused of war crimes. (Penguin Random House)
A Best Book of 2021
Washington Post, Vogue, Time, Oprah Daily, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlantic, Kirkus and Entertainment Weekly
“[I]ntense, unsettling… Intimacies is very much a story that seems to be something familiar but soon morphs into something disorientingly strange…. [W]ith her Jamesian attention to the slightest movement of bodies and words, Kitamura keeps Intimacies rooted to the ordinary domestic experiences of her narrator, her petty jealousies, her passing suspicions. The effect is a kind of emotional intensity that’s gripping because it feels increasingly unsustainable. Who could endure that raw-nerve sensitivity to the power of language to love, to deceive, to promise, to kill? Kitamura pulls us through a rising panic of hyper-awareness until the story’s fever finally breaks with a note of hope and relief. But that can’t quell the novel’s reverberations, which expose something incomprehensible about the moral dimensions of modern life.” —Ron Charles, Washington Post
Intimacies feels like a thriller, though I suppose it really isn’t one; the author just has a remarkable way of bringing tension to every encounter in this brief, sly novel about language and identity . . . Kitamura plumbs different kinds of intimacy — physical, verbal, emotional — in prose that creates its own unique rhythms, as if it itself were translated: She strings sentences together with commas, making rivers of words, and eschews quotation marks so that statements blur into reflections. This results in a book that feels almost painfully intimate; it’s as if we’ve slipped inside the head of this quiet woman, navigating an unwelcoming city, feeling its chill, trying to find home.” —Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times
Meeting organizer:
Kirsten Miclau