I really had trouble connecting with this book. The characters just felt flat. I guess it‘s just not for me.
#IndelibleMoments Day 26: There is #Reconciliation in this story - whether between the protagonist and her lover, or the lover and his wife, I shall leave for you to discover. What a riveting story. 💕
#IndelibleMoments Day 18: There is #Betrayal in this novel - both personal and political. Special shout out to @charl08 @BarbaraBB and @Leftcoastzen for recommending this title - I immediately bumped it up my reading stack - mainly because part of me has not left The Netherlands.
It was the job of the interpreter not simply to state or perform but to repeat the unspeakable. Perhaps that was the real anxiety within the Court, and among the interpreters. The fact that our daily activity hinged on the repeated description-description, elaboration, and delineation of matters that were, outside, generally subject to euphemism and elision.
Finished this up on a trip home from a conference. Not sure how I feel about this one. I enjoyed parts of it, but I'm also not sure I'm fully clear on the point of it. Also, I cannot get behind authors who choose not to use quotation marks around dialogue. I find it greatly distracting and it makes everything feel detached, like it's a summary of what was said, not a conversation. This was my May #Bookspin @TheAromaofBooks
I read this short book quickly but didn‘t necessarily like it. I expected something more or different, I guess. I didn‘t connect to the writing style, which felt so minimalist it was lazy. Here and there there were powerful sentences but as a whole it fell flat for me. Disappointing because I think a more in depth story about these themes would be really engaging. As a language person, I would like to read about an interpreter.
Understated and direct are the words that first come to mind. That may be an affect of the narrator. This is a tournament of books title that I likely would not have otherwise discovered and I really enjoyed. It‘s an odd tone. A very simple approach to describing the complexity of life in all its darkness and intermittent light.
This is how I spent most of my bookstore gift cards! All of these are #blameitonLitsy reads and I‘m probably most intrigued by the tagged book.
A slim book that left me much to mull over about A translator who doesn‘t seem to speak much herself trying to find her place in a new country and a new relationship. She has to interpret what those around her truly think and feel in her personal life even as she works to translate during a war crimes trial. The mood of this book lingered long after I finished it.
I really enjoyed this unique little novel. It was fascinating getting a glimpse into the life of an interpreter at The Hague (although that‘s not really what the book is ‘about‘). To echo what my friend, @BarbaraBB said, I love the ‘atmosphere‘.
In the first of the quarter finals Intimacies has been up to In Concrete in the real #ToB22, which it won.
In ours Intimacies is the winner too. It is Gayla‘s favorite this year, so she‘ll be happy. Intimacies beats Beautiful World with most votes, solely Helen and Chelsea were in favor of the Rooney.
What a great tournament, to have a book like Intimacies make it so far!
Today in the Morning News Tournament of Books, my favorite -- Intimacies -- meets my least favorite -- In Concrete. In a just world, this _should_ be an easy win for Intimacies, a nuanced and complex character study of a translator at the Hague, over a 150-page book that nonetheless managed to wear out its welcome by page ten. But I haven't been on the same wavelength as the judges this year, so who knows.
Today we had an obvious winner again and, for the first time, we are in sync with the real #ToB22. What a raving plea for Intimacies by judge Jennifer Murphy.
Except for Holly, Chelsea and Margot, all of us voted for Intimacies too.
Day 3 of the Morning News Tournament of Books! Today is going to be a heartbreaker, because I enjoyed both Libertie and Intimacies quite a bit, and I hate to see either of them exit the tournament so early.
But. Although I enjoyed Libertie and would recommend it, I thought it suffered from some pacing issue and in particular, the second half was uneven. . . .
Loved the style and punch of this quietly stunning novel. I‘ve seen lots of criticisms about how nothing really happens but I found it surprisingly hard to put down - it was almost hypnotic. There‘s so much seething between the lines here and the tone really worked for me. Excited to read more of Kitamura.
Book 15 of #tob22 and my second favorite behind The Sentence.
Here‘s the deal….(my husband‘s favorite phrase 😆)….the writing is good, but I don‘t usually enjoy romantic relationship angst. I stuck with it because I wanted more from The Hague trial & translation aspect of the novel, which is such an intriguing premise for a story! I wish it had centered more on that angle.
I like the light touch Kitamura uses, the slight remove of language and culture that helps the reader feel the main character's alienation. Although it's a specific situation, a literal difference in language and culture for the character as an American living in The Netherlands, it seems familiar and perhaps universal, as if there's always something lost in translation whenever two people interact. Like life, it leaves me wanting. #ToB2022
Not my typical fare but there is a lot going on in this slim volume. It has a sort of dark, unsettling overtone that was compelling, even when the story seemed to be stuck. In the end, it wasn‘t what happened that kept me interested but how it happened
A woman has moved to The Hague after her father passed away and her mother moved to Singapore, to work as a translator at the Court. She is trying to make new friends and establish a new log for herself.
A book about about finding your way and feeling like an outsider
I liked the quiet intensity of this #ToB22 novel and found the courtroom scenes especially gripping. I also liked the Den Haag setting, as this was one of the last cities I visited with my family before the pandemic hit.
I turned back to the canvas, and it occurred to me then that only a woman could have made this image. This was not a painting of temptation, but rather one of harassment and intimidation, a scene that could be taking place right now in nearly anyplace in the world. […] the man, who believed the scene to be one of ardor and seduction, and the woman, who had been plunged into a state of fear and humiliation.
I was enjoying the prose style without noticing how the first-person narrator was quietly getting under my skin in the best possible way. She‘s Asian, feeling rootless in her temporary job in a new country—the Netherlands—& unsure of where her new romantic relationship is headed. She‘s an interpreter at the International Court of Justice, repeating the words of people accused of war crimes. Belonging & morality in a nuanced character study.
January reading report: ongoing vision problems from my brain injury, so lots of audiobooks. Some really GREAT audiobooks, including the tagged one. Still having some cognitive issues too, so reviews are a challenge. I'm doing better each day, happy to be able to spend more time on Litsy.
This morning I was very taken with the description of a painting in Intimacies, and ended up going down a bit of a Judith Leyster rabbithole. The woman did not get credit for her work until 1893 -- after her death every single painting she'd made was attributed either to her husband or to Frans Hals. #morningreads #JusticeForJudithLeyster
“One day you are living an ordinary life with its ordinary ups and downs, and then that life is ripped apart and you can never feel entirely secure again.”
I‘m disappointed. I didn‘t make a connection with the main character, plus there‘s not much of a plot so I was left to meander through. And I fear it‘s forgettable. The positive: it did feel like a glimpse into a real life.
I had really high hopes for this, following others‘ reviews but it didn‘t quite live up to them. I still liked it, but not one of my #tob faves, maybe top half though.
It really reminded me of Lahiri‘s Whereabouts, which I loved, and I think suffered in comparison. It was more outwardly-focused, less introspective, and a lot more uncomfortable, which I didn‘t enjoy.
This book exists in the space between words. We quietly follow a young woman who has taken a job as an interpreter in The Hague. It explores violence and the power of men, displacement and love. I enjoyed the experience of reading it and many images will stay with me. (The former leader in court, the painting of the man and the woman, etc.)
This book is quiet and beautiful and subtly intense. I loved the way the story illustrated the ways we seek connections and try to understand other people. It was a good time for me to read this book as I grapple with loss in my family. #ToB2022
I was immediately swept up in this slim but gripping story of an unnamed interpreter who takes a job at The Hague. Similar to Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahore, we are treated to musings and snippets of our narrator‘s days as she drifts untethered in an unfamiliar city. Thanks for this wonderful gift of a book @BarbaraBB #ToB22 #Pop22 #ProtagonistUsesAMobilityAid
^^ p 125 Layers, artifice, the gaze. Love how form follows theme in this novel. In a book about appearances, surface, observation & interpretation, sentence structures often describe an external observation or action in a short phrase, then reveal the longer internal workings. Masterful.
P 12 > “It was only an anecdote. But it was one example of how the city‘s veneer of civility was constantly giving way, in places it was barely there at all.”
Sustained hum of threat beneath a placid surface of elegant prose. Loneliness, curiosity, ex-pat awareness, outsider puzzling out meaning, attempts at integration. A very subtle suspense, intimacies with near strangers, vague sense of dread & wonder in an unfamiliar city. Banality of evil. Observation. Complicity. Secrets, trust. Manipulation. Emotion v. logic. Unseen violence. Language. Passivity of interpreter, attempting clarity. 2021
This is the folly of doing your #top21of21 early. I loved this intricate story of a young woman trying to find her place in the world.After the loss of her parents, her former homes have little hold on her.She takes a job at The Hague, as an interpreter.As she negotiates new friendships, a man still entangled w/ his wife who left him,a friend who‘s brother is attacked in a seemingly random act of violence,where can she find home & connection?
I really wasn‘t happy with the author‘s previous book so I was nervous about reading this one for the Tournament of Books. I also knew nothing about the story before heading into it. What a delightful surprise it turned out to be! A single woman navigating a new country, a new job at The Hague as an interpreter, and a potential relationship. A 👏🏻👏🏻👍🏻👍🏻 from me. #TOB22
I had a completely different idea of what this book would be when I started. I hadn't read any reviews and went in blind after seeing it on several best of lists for 2021.
This book is short, yet is packed with thought provoking ideas about relationships, and not just romantic relationships, but your average everyday interactions with people you meet, co-workers, and friends.
There's a quiet beauty to this book that I love.
Library comes through again. Two from the #Tob22 shortlist and the Love Hypothesis which folks seem to love!
This is the problem with doing a best of list early ! I‘m about half way through this one and absolutely love it . We will see if I keep loving it.