The author: Katie Kitamura ’99 is novelist, journalist, and art critic. She is currently an honorary research fellow at the London Consortium. Her previous fictional works include The Longshot: A Novel (Free Press, 2009) and Gone to the Forest (Profile Books, 2013).
Opening paragraphs: It began with a telephone call from Isabella. She wanted to know where Christopher was, and I was put in the awkward position of having to tell her that I didn’t know. To her this must have sounded incredible. I didn’t tell her that Christopher and I had separated six months earlier, and that I hadn’t spoken to her son in nearly a month.
She found my inability to inform her of Christopher’s whereabouts incomprehensible, and her response was withering but not entirely surprised, which somehow made matters worse. I felt both humiliated and uncomfortable, two sensations that have always characterized my relationship with Isabella and Mark. This despite Christopher often telling me I had precisely the same effect on them, that I should try not to be so reserved, it was too easily interpreted as a form of arrogance.
Didn’t I know, he asked, that some people found me a snob? I didn’t. Our marriage was formed by the things Christopher knew and the things I did not. This was not simply a question of intellect, although in that respect Christopher again had the advantage, he was without doubt a clever man. It was a question of things withheld, information that he had, and that I did not. In short, it was a question of infidelities—betrayal always puts one partner in the position of knowing, and leaves the other in the dark.
Reviews: Kirkus Review says, “A minutely observed novel of infidelity unsettles its characters and readers.”
The New Yorker says, “Kitamura is a writer with a visionary, visual imagination—she’s an art critic, too—and a bold symbolist streak. The mood she likes best is menace.”