Katie Kitamura’s War on Affect

The narrator of Katie Kitamura’s third novel, “A Separation” (Riverhead), is a literary translator, a job that appeals to her because of its “potential for passivity.” She could just as well have been a medium, she says. Now that she’s in the exposed position of telling her own story rather than someone else’s, she takes a certain refuge in reticence. She doesn’t disclose her name. Even the book’s title, with its meek indefinite article, broadcasts a reluctance to set much...

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