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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Top 10 Book of 2021

Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award in Fiction

One of Barack Obama’s Favorite 2021 Reads

An Instant National Best Seller

A Best Book of 2021 from Washington Post, Vogue, Time, Oprah Daily, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlantic, Kirkus and Entertainment Weekly

Intimacies is a haunting, precise, and morally astute novel that reads like a psychological thriller…. Katie Kitamura is a wonder.” (Dana Spiotta, author of Wayward and Eat the Document)

“One of the best novels I’ve read in 2021.” (Dwight Garner, The New York Times)

A novel from the author of A Separation, an electrifying story about a woman caught between many truths.

An interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court. A woman of many languages and identities, she is looking for a place to finally call home.

She's drawn into simmering personal dramas: Her lover, Adriaan, is separated from his wife but still entangled in his marriage. Her friend Jana witnesses a seemingly random act of violence, a crime the interpreter becomes increasingly obsessed with as she befriends the victim's sister. And she's pulled into an explosive political controversy when she’s asked to interpret for a former president accused of war crimes.

A woman of quiet passion, she confronts power, love, and violence, both in her personal intimacies and in her work at the Court. She is soon pushed to the precipice, where betrayal and heartbreak threaten to overwhelm her, forcing her to decide what she wants from her life.

©2021 Katie Kitamura (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“[C]ooly written and casts a spell.... One of Kitamura’s gifts…is to inject every scene with a pinprick of dread.... One of the best novels I’ve read in 2021.... A taut, moody novel that moves purposefully between worlds.” (Dwight Garner, New York Times)

“[I]ntense, unsettling...Intimacies is very much a story that seems to be something familiar but soon morphs into something disorientingly strange.... [W]ith her Jamesian attention to the slightest movement of bodies and words, Kitamura keeps Intimacies rooted to the ordinary domestic experiences of her narrator, her petty jealousies, her passing suspicions. The effect is a kind of emotional intensity that’s gripping because it feels increasingly unsustainable. Who could endure that raw-nerve sensitivity to the power of language to love, to deceive, to promise, to kill? Kitamura pulls us through a rising panic of hyper-awareness until the story’s fever finally breaks with a note of hope and relief. But that can’t quell the novel’s reverberations, which expose something incomprehensible about the moral dimensions of modern life." (Ron Charles, Washington Post)

“Katie Kitamura’s fourth novel spins a taut web of dread from the start.... In cool, spare prose, Kitamura asks the book’s animating query: How should you go about your little life in a world where horrible things are happening?” (Stephanie Hayes, The Atlantic)

What listeners say about Intimacies

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Serious Book

This is an extremely tight and intelligent book. After reading endless novels in order to escape the dark and chaotic mess that we find ourselves in this country, Kitamura’s beautifully economical writing has been for me a return to how effective great writing can be. The narration is pitch perfect, as is the book itself.

21 people found this helpful

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Prose of words, spare, a guide to a reader

I am finding more and more as I listen a relief that the writer includes my collaboration. Just enough, a spareness to the narrative that permits the reader to fill in the gaps in the story. Like a path and destination discovered by me instead of services of the Map. The comparisons we make with our own lives are parts of our duty as a reader, but in this case a blending occurred that was at once disturbing and a fulfillment. I am grateful. Yes. Grateful.

17 people found this helpful

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Refreshingly smart novel

Not dumbed down at all. Surprisingly prescient. I definitely have to read more by Katie Kitamura.

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Ridiculous story.

This book was highly recommended by the WSJ so I gave it a try. The narration was pretty good, a little flat, but fitting of the main character.
Half way into the story, I wondered if this book was just going to be about this dull main character, so I kept listening to find out. About 2/3 of the way in I started to think the story was actually going somewhere. The dull main character seemed to be involved in something interesting.
I had to look to see for myself if there was an additional chapter remaining at the end because I could not believe that the entire story was about nothing more than the dull main character.
A huge disappointment.

4 people found this helpful

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Definitely not worth the time.

Still puzzled by the synopsis of the book. Terribly boring and anticlimactic. Wish I had stopped listening to it. Stayed with it in the hope of superb ending. Disappointing on all fronts.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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never really developed

This seemed to be developing into an interesting story. Unfortunately, it just never happened. It's a shame, because the premise had such good promise.

3 people found this helpful

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  • LC
  • 12-12-21

Worst book I have listened to in ages

How this got on the top 10 NYT list indicates it is time to get new book reviewers. It was filled with cliches - including the whole plot on the boyfriend. The sections about interpreting for a war criminal, which got a lot of press, read like the research was done from reading the newspaper. This is the first audible book I have listened to fully and then returned because I felt anyone who endured the five-plus hours should get their money back. The anger in this review comes from the great expectations that I had after listening to the NYT podcast on the best books of 2021.

2 people found this helpful

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Story doesn’t go anywhere

I so wanted to enjoy this book. There is great detail in the story but it doesn’t go anywhere. The main character comes across as dull and boring. Nothing really happens—there is a build up to something—then nothing. I was very disappointed. The narrator delivers in a very monotone voice that drones on and on.

2 people found this helpful

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Emotionless and boring

The premis of this book is incredibly boring. There is really no story line. Or perhaps, it's the fact that the narrator is horrible. Emotionless. No inflection to her voice. It's like she is just reading the words. Don't bother.

1 person found this helpful

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Bad

The worst audible I’ve listened to. I can’t even return it. I wish I would have read other reviews.

1 person found this helpful