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Intimacies: A Novel – tekijä: Katie…
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Intimacies: A Novel (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2021; vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Katie Kitamura (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1627134,825 (4)15
Jäsen:Gretchen_Dursch
Teoksen nimi:Intimacies: A Novel
Kirjailijat:Katie Kitamura (Tekijä)
Info:Riverhead Books (2021), 240 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):***
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Intimacies (tekijä: Katie Kitamura) (2021)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I came across this title on Barack Obama’s 2021 reading list and so decided to pick it up. Perhaps my indifference comes from my reading the book while on a travelling vacation, but it left me underwhelmed.

An unnamed protagonist is working as a translator at The Hague for the International Criminal Court. In her professional life, she works at the trial of a West African former president charged with crimes against humanity. In her personal life, she becomes involved with Adriaan, a Dutch man who turns out to be married. She moves into his apartment while he goes to Lisbon to see his estranged wife to seek a divorce.

Though she performs her job very well, she seems utterly adrift. She has a temporary contract at work and lives in a furnished apartment intended for temporary residence. She is stuck between languages and cultures and is involved with a man who is himself adrift. She spends her time observing and making as “little disturbance” as possible.

One of the themes is that of superficiality: “people behave with such conscious and unconscious dishonesty all the time” and “our own behavior shifted according to whether or not we thought we were being seen.”

Another theme is that our perceptions of people are based on contexts that can change quickly: “Every certainty can give way without notice.” In her work, for instance, she is aware that tone and word choice while translating can affect the court’s perception of what was said and the person who spoke. Her opinion of people changes often when she learns more details or sees people in a different setting. For example, she has one impression of a friend’s brother but then when she sees him with a woman in a restaurant, she concludes, “I understood that Anton was attractive, a man with no small powers of fascination.” She also notices how a comment causes a woman to change “her image of me.”

I found the book scattered; there are a number of scenes which are intended only to convey the theme in yet another way. The main character attends an art exhibit and muses on the superiority of painting to photography in being able to capture more than one emotion. Paintings have laying, “in effect a kind of temporal blurring, or simultaneity.”

The writing style is dense. Diction is complex; for instance, logorrheic is not a word used in ordinary conversation. There are no chapter titles. Quotation marks are eschewed, but comma splices abound. I kept looking for a rationale for the grammatically non-traditional style.

Other readers will probably find a great deal in this book, but it didn’t grab my attention and I just don’t care enough to give more thought to it. The characters are not interesting; the protagonist left me unmoved and the word milquetoast perfectly describes Adriaan. If I became more intimate with Intimacies, perhaps my perception would change, but other more interesting books beckon.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Dec 1, 2021 |
The narrator is a translator at the International Court in The Hague. She has one good friend and is beginning a relationship with a Dutch man that she is optimistic about, so she's hoping to be permanently hired when her contract ends. But translating is not without its hazards; the work can often be stressful, especially once she begins translating at the trial of a west African leader accused of human rights abuses.

Kitamura writes with both intimacy and a sense of remove, the reader is privy to the narrator's private thoughts and desires while her past and even her name remain hidden. Access is given, but only to a portion of the narrator's life, which heightens the sense of urgency and of time passing. There's no bird's eye view or insight given with the passing of time, just this one woman navigating her life as best she can. ( )
1 ääni RidgewayGirl | Oct 5, 2021 |
Well this was such an interesting book. I'm still thinking about it after reading two other books so I can't really get it out of my mind. It's a strange book and if you're a stickler for proper sentence structure and plot, well, you may want to look elsewhere. (This really threw me until I finally just succumbed to the interesting things going on in the novel).It's not stream of consciousness but I don't really know how else you would describe it.

An unnamed narrator living in NY accepts a job as an interpreter in The Hague at the International Criminal Court. She is a stranger in a strange town and the eponymous intimacies are those that take place between her and the subjects whose speech she is translating, those that take place between her and her acquaintances, her and her colleagues, her and her lover, well you see what I mean. Of course as a translator she realizes that every movement she makes may add something to the meaning of the words she's translating.

This book may have been too intellectual to be truly appreciated, by me anyway. It's undoubtedly quite brilliant and I really liked it and as I said, I'm still thinking about it so what does that say about me. I'm not sure. National Book Award nominee ( )
  brenzi | Sep 25, 2021 |
Man oh man this is an odd little book. The prose is cut glass, the examination of dissonance and rootlessness and community is profound and beautiful, the lens on colonialism/post colonialism subtle and thought-provoking, the emotional remove sometimes chilling even though it never got in my way in feeling deeply for our protagonist (who I do not think has a name, if she does I missed it.) And I was surprised to find in the end it was hopeful, hinting that maybe we can temper dissonance and rootlessness by redefining home. I also have a lot to chew on from her depiction of how we as a people value the ability to achieve emotional remove (she used the word "equanimity" and it was surprising for me to realize they were synonymous though the first is looked at as negative and the second as positive.) The setting in the Hague, and especially in the International Criminal Court also left a lot to think about, and perfectly suited the narrative. The Hague has always felt to me like the least engaging or homey place I can imagine, perhaps because of its internationality (though I can see the UN from my office window and I don't feel that in New York) and so it was a perfect backdrop to a story in part about defining the concept of home in a globalized world.

This book is not for everyone. There is not really a plot though there are many interesting subjects glanced over, and as a reader I created stories around those subjects. The main character is perhaps a bit too hazy for people to feel connected to her (as someone who has moved around a good bit and spent long stretches of time in cities on three continents she may be more graspable for me than for people who have lived their lives in one place surrounded by people and things they know.) This is not an easy read -- you need to grapple with it and find its truths. For me those were all plusses, and I will be going back to read Kitamura's last book, and I imagine also her next. 4.5 it is. ( )
  Narshkite | Aug 16, 2021 |
Prior to reading this novel, I had not ever been aware of the numerous varieties of intimacy that are possible. In this novel, our protagonist moves to the Netherlands for a job at The Hague as an interpreter. The author leads us through the process of starting as a stranger and experiencing the development of intimacies: sexual, unexpected, unwanted, gentle, trusting, false, hostile, violent, physical proximity, detached intimacy at work and more. It is an interesting book. The characters include interpreters, lovers, neighbors, colleagues, and a war criminal. Not a thrilling plot, but the psychological perspective was very interesting. Unique. ( )
  hemlokgang | Aug 9, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
It is never easy to move to a new country, but in truth I was happy to be away from New York.
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