Novels about marriages gone sour are countless; a persuasive one that stands out is achieved through character, approach, style, and execution. Kitamura realizes a compelling drama, a melancholy and meditative narrative of marriage and mystery, a sustained story of suspense through quagmires and restraint.
An unnamed London woman in her late thirties, a translator of foreign works, is separated from her writer husband, Christopher, a charismatic charmer and womanizer. After her mother-in-law calls in a desperate attempt to find him in Greece (she has tracked him to a locale and hotel), and begs the narrator to go there, Christopher’s wife decides to use this as an opportunity to ask him for a divorce in person. Their separation has remained a secret, at Christopher’s urging. But now the translator is ready to find and confront him, and to get her life back to something resembling normal.
When the narrator arrives at the luxury hotel in a quaint and rural fishing village, she learns that he left for a side trip, although his belongings remain intact. They accommodate her to stay and wait for his return. In the meantime, her discomforts at the resort hotel accumulate, despite the air of generous hospitality. A receptionist, Maria, glares at her with a mixture of curiosity and hostility. There’s a driver, Stefano, whose cagey politeness and inscrutability makes her wary. Each interaction with a hotel employee increases her suspicion and sense of shame. Her guard is up, and as the days pass, she dwells more and more on her memories, conjectures, shame, and fears. And where did Christopher go?
The passive tone of the book superbly parallels the narrator’s equivalent passivity, creating tension as her suspicions and torment leak out of every pore, even as she rigidly maintains her ostensible self-contained poise.
What gives this book so much sustainability and depth is what goes through the narrator’s mind--an intimacy and immediacy, teased out of passivity, and ratcheted up with Christopher’s absence. In fact, his absence is a dire presence—the “here but not here” X factor that surrounds the narrator’s concerns. And her namelessness a thing suggesting her invisibility, like her work. “Translation is not unlike an act of channeling, you write and you do not write the words.” “…translation’s potential for passivity appealed to me…I could have been a translator or a medium...”
During this time that the narrator spends with no husband, she is also relieved at the delay in confronting him. She is full of contradictions, even as she has a new and loving boyfriend waiting for her at home. As a reader, her reticence and her repression, as well as her desperation and ruminations riveted me. This may be the most inquisitive period of her life, as she begins to mine the many facets that she formerly ignored. “…between two people, there will always be room for failures of imagination.”
- 出版社: Riverhead Books
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 9780735216655
- 条形码: 9780735216655
- 商品尺寸: 20.8 x 2.1 x 14 cm
- 商品重量: 445 g
- 品牌: Riverhead Books
- ASIN: 0735216657
- 用户评分: 分享我的评价