Your audiobook is waiting…

A Separation

A Novel
Narrated by: Katherine Waterston
Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
3 out of 5 stars (257 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

A PBS NewsHour/New York Times Book Club pick.

A New York Times notable book.

Named a best book of the year by the New York Times, NPR, Huffington Post, The A.V. Club, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, Refinery29, Town & Country, Harper's Bazaar, NYLON, and BookRiot.

“Kitamura’s prose gallops, combining Elena Ferrante-style intricacies with the tensions of a top-notch whodunit.” (Elle)

This is her story. About the end of her marriage. About what happened when Christopher went missing and she went to find him. These are her secrets; this is what happened.... 

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 look for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart she's not even sure if she wants to find him. As her search comes to a shocking breaking point, she discovers she understands less than she thought she did about her relationship and the man she used to love. 

A searing, suspenseful story of intimacy and infidelity, A Separation lays bare what divides us from the inner lives of others. With exquisitely cool precision, Katie Kitamura propels us into the experience of a woman on edge, with a fiercely mesmerizing story to tell. 

©2017 Katie Kitamura (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A slow burn of a novel that gathers its great force and intensity through careful observation and a refusal to accept old, shopworn narratives of love and loss." (Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation)
"A novel so seamless, that follows its path with such consequence, that even minor deviations seem loaded with meaning. Wonderful." (Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of My Struggle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    43
  • 4 Stars
    55
  • 3 Stars
    78
  • 2 Stars
    57
  • 1 Stars
    24

Performance

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    70
  • 4 Stars
    50
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    37

Story

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    42
  • 4 Stars
    45
  • 3 Stars
    70
  • 2 Stars
    48
  • 1 Stars
    29
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not a Thriller, but Still Great

This book is billed in a number of places as a literary thriller, and it definitely does have a good degree of mystery and intrigue but no in the sense that you might expect from a thriller. So, if that's what you're looking for, something more action-oriented with a crazy plot this is not your book.

That being said, this book is excellent in many ways and is definitely worth a credit. The voicing is superb and the narrator does a great job of diving into Kitamura's hypnotic tone. It is incredibly slow though, I was playing this at X1.4 speed and it was ideal but when I went down to normal speed it sounded ridiculous.

It is a literary exploration of grief, marriage, identity and infidelity. Kitamura is a master at exploring her character's (only one real character to speak of - the protagonist) emotions. She does so subtly, very subtly; tip-toeing around the immense tension and conflict inherent in this books primary situation. She doesn't confront the conflict head on, and that's where some listeners may be put-off, waiting for a big reveal or a titanic moment where it all clicks.

It doesn't click plot-wise like a twisty thriller would, but it did hit me hard somewhere more subterranean, maybe spiritual, maybe existential.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Well Now

I had to read this for class, and I have to say, I could not get into this book. The protagonist is unnamed, and we know little about her, other than that she is Christopher's wife. We never learn how they meet, what she is truly feeling, only that she needs to hide under pretense, what a wife 'should feel'. She also goes off on tangents that have no relation to the current situations. The author is descriptive, a bit too much in that we know everything that characters are wearing, positioned, and how the background should be, but there's a lack of purpose in it, like it's meant to feel up more space.

Honestly, the narrator is the only thing that made any emotion come through, that propelled me to finish. I wouldn't recommend this book, partly because I didn't understand the purpose of it all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

For Lovers of Hemingway and Bowles...

This is an exquisite book. I sometimes forget in my typical trudge through the brambles of popular fiction that some writers are still interested in probing the enigma of the human condition. It's hard to compare Kitamura's striking tone to anything I've read from recent writers, but after finishing a chapter or two, I knew I would love this book. It tickles those same sensibilities I have in reading Farewell to Arms or The Sheltering Sky - that setting of "foreigner among locals," that interior voice that observes without sentimentality. I never highlight anything in books, but there were some ideas here so finely written and considered that I had to stop and note them. Kitamura's writing seems to compel the reader to stop and ponder all the absurdities we find ourselves in, to think about our own foolish choices.

Katherine Watterson makes all the right choices with her narration - nothing showy, nothing inauthentic - and her quiet storytelling adds to the tension and feeling of the story. She is superb and intelligent. This was a truly special listening experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not worth the price of admission

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book would be for someone who likes a very, very slow narrative with lots of description and inner rumination.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator read the book v-e-r-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and it was not unusual for it to be obvious that she was caught off guard that the sentence had not ended. So it sounded stilted.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

The book was mostly annoying. If I were reading it, I don't think I would have finished it. I kept hoping that something would happen at the end to create an element of surprise, but it just plodded along until it finally petered out at the end.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Anemic and emotionless performance

How could the performance have been better?

I am not sure if I can finish this book I am so put off by the performance. At 1.25 speed it is still slow, emotionless and uninteresting! Can't focus on the story. The worst reading of a book I have heard so far and I am not even getting into the atrocious Greek accent.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

Although this book was very well written, it was a bit too introspective for me. I think I had expected this to be more of a mystery about finding the estranged husband....more action, etc. Instead, there was so much inner dialogue that I felt myself wishing the author would move on and get to what was going to happen next in the story. I realize now that her intent was to be philosophical and not entertaining.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Her writing is incredibly precise and wonderful

Takes a lot for me to write a review. But this book deserves all my praise. So many of the feelings she writes about I have felt myself but never would have thought to write them down. The flow of the prose is amazing.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Soooooo Slow

This book is the biggest downer in the world. Her outlook on life could lead you to jump off a bridge !

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Waste of time

Dumb story and the reader had a monotone voice
I kept expecting something to happen. It just drones on forever

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The narrator should stick to bedtime stories

The narrator sounded like she was going to sleep or was trying to put me asleep. The story has a lot of introspection and very little action so the listless monotone of the narrator made it hard to focus. I would start thinking of other things and have to rewind. I only continued listening because I was interested in the story.