A novel from the author of A Separation, an electrifying story about a woman caught between many truths.
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.
A woman of quiet passion, she confronts power, love, and violence, both in her personal intimacies and in her work at the Court. She is soon pushed to the precipice, where betrayal and heartbreak threaten to overwhelm her, forcing her to decide what she wants from her life.
Katie Kitamura's most recent novel, A Separation, was a finalist for the Premio Gregor von Rezzori and a New York Times Notable Book. It was named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications and translated into sixteen languages, and is being adapted for film. Her two previous novels, Gone to the Forest and The Longshot, were both finalists for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. A recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and Santa Maddalena Foundation, Katie has written for publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, BOMB Magazine, Triple Canopy, and Frieze. She teaches in the creative writing program at New York University.
"Like her protagonist, Kitamura... is a master of precisely evocative language. In her work and in her isolation, the interpreter recognizes how familiarity can obscure intimacy, while its lack can yet lead to discomfiting proximity. The novel takes places so deeply within her that it's truly personlike, at once forthright and mysterious, a piercing and propulsive meditation on closeness of many sorts." - Booklist
"A watchful, reticent woman sees peril and tries not to vanish... It's a delight to accompany the narrator's astute observational intelligence through these pages... She hears and doesn't hear the words amid her focus, just as she sees and doesn't completely register events in her everyday life...This is the crux of Kitamura's preoccupation. She threads it brilliantly through the intimacies her character is trying to navigate: with new colleagues, women friends, and her beau, who goes away; with the work and with the nature of The Hague itself...The novel packs a controlled but considerable wallop, all the more pleasurable for its nuance. This psychological tone poem is a barbed and splendid meditation on peril." - Kirkus
"[C]ooly written and casts a spell... One of Kitamura's gifts... is to inject every scene with a pinprick of dread.... One of the best novels I've read in 2021... A taut, moody novel that moves purposefully between worlds." - Dwight Garner, New York Times
"[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
"A master of cool disquiet... Kitamura writes with forceful, direct prose that makes for a bracing read and leaves the reader mesmerized." - Lauren Mechling, Vogue
"[A] thriller of a novel.... In exploring how one's proximity to power and violence can hold endless repercussions, Kitamura interrogates how our intimacies can change the course of our lives." - Time
"Calling all Rachel Cuskheads and W.G. Sebald stans! Kitamura is a novelist of enchanting imagination and minimalist prose style.... The novel's plot twists are of the subtle, jaw-tightening variety rather than the dramatic, stomach-knotting sort, but it's still fair to call it a 'psychological thriller.' Intimacies is for those who like their addictive novels to sneak up behind them rather than slap them in the face." - Molly Young, Vulture
"[A] gorgeous, destabilizing meditation on the power differentials built into language and the gradual distortions of our emotional allegiances." - Raven Leilani, Vulture
"In her unforgettable 2017 A Separation, Kitamura took her protagonist to the edge of an island in the Mediterranean; in her new and equally unforgettable novel, she places an interpreter in the middle of The Hague. This woman is also embroiled in many dramas, personal and professional, forcing her to choose a path and an identity." - Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
"Katie Kitamura dazzles us again with Intimacies. Her style is so perfectly suited to my taste that everything she writes impresses. Her ability to impart vivacious detail with sparse and direct prose is a testament to her talent, and the moments that she is able to create between characters and places are memorable and beautiful. This book has stuck with me for months now, and I think of it often in the small moments of intimacy I find in my life." - Buzzfeed
"Though it has all the ingredients for a story of global intrigue...what Katie Kitamura's new novel, Intimacies, really does is offer intrigue of a more, well, intimate sort. This is the kind of book that quickens the pulse not because of logic-defying plot twists, but rather because of how surgically precise it is in revealing how our emotional realities take on epic dimensions in our own minds, and often threaten our stability in the precise ways that things of global import rarely do....psychologically disconcerting -- like all the very best thrillers." - Refinery29