Read Remark Book Review - A Separation by Katie Kitamura

Book Review: A Separation by Katie Kitamura

One-sentence summary:

After their months-long separation and impending divorce, a woman goes to Greece to search for Christopher, her missing husband.

The marketing for A Separation is misleading, and that irritates me.

Here’s the official publisher description, courtesy of Goodreads:

“A mesmerizing, psychologically taut novel about a marriage’s end and the secrets we all carry.”

On Amazon, A Separation currently a bestseller in the psychological thriller genre.

Elle describes it thusly in this quote widely used in promoting the book:

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


Did we read the same book? Did you read the book at all, Elle? Or did you just want to name-drop Elena Ferrante?

A Separation doesn’t “gallop.” It stands still and contemplates.

It isn’t “psychologically taut.” It’s a slow-moving and thoughtful inner monologue.

It isn’t a “whodunit.” It doesn’t even matter who did it. The focus is on the main character’s feelings about the end of the relationship. Christopher’s fate is a plot point, but not the plot point. More important is the emotional difference his actual separation makes from the separation she thought they’d have.

It isn’t a thriller. It’s a meditation.

This is a perfectly fine book that I would have given three stars. The writing style is a bit meditative and static for my personal taste. But the misleading marketing (not the author’s fault) is unforgivable.

Riverhead Books (part of Penguin) published A Separation. They have impressive titles under their publishing belt, ones I enjoyed and did not feel misled, including my recently beloved The Mothers.

I’m willing to assume good intent and a different reading experience on my part. But only with a leery side eye.

I’ve heard this refrain several times about A Separation – it’s pitched as a thriller, which it most definitely is not. Some even call it the next Gone Girl.

  1. Please, can we stop with the Gone Girl comparisons already??
  2. No. It. Is. Not. It’s a disservice to this book to compare it to something which it is not.

My feelings are much stronger for the marketing than they are for the book, which is a shame.

Read Remark