Katie Kitamura returns with ‘a barbed and splendid meditation on peril.’
On this week’s episode, Katie Kitamura discusses her new novel, Intimacies (Riverhead, July 20), a similarly suspenseful, slim, and exquisite follow-up to 2017’s A Separation—and one of Barack Obama’s 2021 Summer Reading List recommendations.
Kirkus on Intimacies: “The narrator is a temporary translator at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where an unidentified head of state is on trial for atrocities in the months before the Brexit vote. The accused specifically requests the narrator to translate for him in a claustrophobic meeting with his defense team: ‘cross-border raid, mass grave, armed youth.’ She hears and doesn’t hear the words amid her focus, just as she sees and doesn’t completely register events in her everyday life. ‘It is surprisingly easy to forget what you have witnessed,’ she thinks, ‘the horrifying image or the voice speaking the unspeakable, in order to exist in the world we must and we do forget, we live in a state of I know but I do not know.’ This is the crux of Kitamura’s preoccupation. She threads it brilliantly through the intimacies her character is trying to navigate: with new colleagues, women friends, and her beau, who goes away; with the work and with the nature of The Hague itself" (starred review).
Kitamura and host Megan Labrise discuss The Hague as a city and a setting; the allure of an unnamed narrator; why the narrator is a professional interpreter; what first person narration allows an author to do, craftwise; Kitamura’s working relationships with the translators of her novels; how we build foundations for intimacy when identity is mutable; and much more.
And in a sponsored interview, Megan talks with Victor Piñeiro, author of Time Villains, the exciting first installment in a middle-grade series out now from Sourcebooks: “Featuring a diverse cast led by Puerto Rican siblings…grand doses of humor, and an irreverent take on some of history’s well-known figures, Piñeiro’s book scores with this tale of friendship, magic, and adventure.…Magnificent” (starred review).
Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, and Eric Liebetrau join with their weekly reading recommendations.
The Mysterious Sea Bunny by Peter Raymundo (Dial Books)
In the Same Boat by Holly Green (Scholastic)
(Re)Born in the USA: An Englishman’s Love Letter to His Chosen Home by Roger Bennett (Dey Street/HarperCollins)
Also mentioned in this episode:
Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of by Martin Brown (David Fickling/Scholastic)
Even More Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown (David Fickling/Scholastic)
Hudson Bay Bound: Two Women, One Dog, Two Thousand Miles to the Arctic by Natalie Warren (Univ. of Minnesota)
Men in Blazers podcast
Thanks to our advertisers this week:
What We Take for Truth: A Novel by Deborah Nedelman
Cycles of Norse Mythology by Glenn Searfoss
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.