August: “Intimacies” by Katie Kitamura

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

Our August 2021 Book of the Month

Our August Book of the Month, Intimacies by Katie Kitamura, is a subtle and beautifully written novel about what it is to balance the global and the personal when the world is constantly swirling in our head. It is a book that can read as simple on the surface but careful attention reveals complexity and intimacy that draws in a reader and drives the story. A constant internal dialogue is experienced by many and yet we still have difficulty making sense of our lives or the lives of others. Kitamura explores the attempts we make to create cohesive narratives about our own lives.

The novel is compelling and relatable as the unnamed narrator attempts to interpret or translate the behaviors and words of those that she works with, socializes with, and loves. This is a book that hits my personal book club sweet spot, it is well written, a pleasure to read, unique and thought provoking.


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 is the author of Gone To The Forest and The Longshot, both finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. Her third novel, A Separation, was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Premio von Rezzori. It was named a Best Book of the Year by over a dozen publications, translated into sixteen languages, and is being adapted for film. Her new novel, Intimacies, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books in 2021.

A recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and Santa Maddalena, Katie has written for publications including the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times, the Guardian, Granta, BOMB, Triple Canopy, and Frieze. She teaches in the creative writing program at New York University.

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