A Separation
    Home    Print This Page  

1. What kind of woman is the narrator of the book—how would you describe her? Why do you think the author decided not to give her a name? At one point the narrator tells us about her work as a literary translator: "translation's potential for passivity appealed to me." What does that statement say about her?

2. When Christopher's mother calls wondering where he is, why doesn't the narrator tell her mother-in-law that the two have gone their separate ways? What holds her back from sharing this information? And why does she decide to head to Greece in search of him, even though she is reluctant to do so?

3. What atmosphere does the Greek village of Gerolimenas convey? Consider the blackened hills and empty hotels, the faceless saints and stray dogs. How does this setting help create the novel's mood? And what is that mood?

4. What was your reaction when you learned where Christopher was? Were you shocked?

5. What do we learn about the narrator and Christopher's relationship: it's beginning, middle, and it's ultimate end? What kind of emotional harm have they inflicted on one another? In what ways do you discern the narrator's hidden (repressed?) anger despite her outwardly detached personae?

6. What do you make of Christopher? Katie Kitamura never gives him the opportunity to speak for himself. Mostly, what we get of him comes through an unflattering portrait presented to us by the narrator. Is she a reliable, or fair, judge of her husband?

7. As she finds herself on the shore of the Mediterranean, the narrator muses about men's proclivity for infidelity:

Now, they no longer went away—there was not, at least for most of them, a sea to roam or a desert to cross, there was nothing but the floors of an office tower, the morning commute, a familiar and monotonous landscape…it was only on the shores of infidelity that they achieved a little privacy, a little inner life.

Does that mean she forgives Christopher his incessant straying?

8. Follow-up to Question 7: What other ruminations on marriage does the narrator engage in? In her view, for instance, what does marriage mean to wives that it does not, or cannot, mean to husbands? Do you have any thoughts about...well, the narrator's thoughts? What are your thoughts surrounding marriage?

9. Discuss the narrator's final encounter with her in-laws and what she comes to realize about their marriage? How did she see them at first, and how does she see the two in light of her own failed relationship?

10. What does the novel's title, "Separation," refer to? How many kinds of separation are there in this story?

11. What does the narrator come away having learned? Has she changed by the novel's end? What do you predict for the new relationship she is returning home to?

* Some questions from LitLovers.

Home l About Us l Features l Contact Us l Share l Submit Book