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Katie Kitamura's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Katie Kitamura recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Katie Kitamura's favorite book recommendations of all time.


My First Wife

My First Wife is Jakob Wassermann's intense, powerful account of a marriage - and its ruinous collapse - translated by the award-winning translator of Alone in Berlin, Michael Hofmann.

It is the story of Alexander Herzog, a young writer, who goes to Vienna to escape his debts and a failed love affair. There he is pursued by book-loving Ganna: giddy, girlish, clumsy, eccentric and wild. Dazzled and unnerved by her devotion to him, and attracted to the large dowry offered by her wealthy father, he thinks he can mould Ganna into what he wants. But...
Recommended by Katie Kitamura, and 1 others.

Katie KitamuraThe sheer amount of legal detail feels particularly true and particularly lived—the legal proceedings are the most harrowing part. (Source)

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In a quaint Austrian ski resort, things are not quite what they seem. Hermann, the manager of a paper mill, has decided that sexual gratification begins at home. Which means Gerti - his wife and property. Gerti is not asked how she feels about the use Hermann puts her to. She is a receptacle into which Hermann pours his juices, nastily, briefly, brutally. The long-suffering and battered Gerti thinks she has found her saviour and love in Michael, a student who rescues her after a day of vigorous use by her husband. But Michael is on his way up the Austrian political ladder, and he is, after... more
Recommended by Katie Kitamura, and 1 others.

Katie KitamuraThis is unflinching and possibly the most relentless of Jelinek’s novels, which is saying quite a lot. (Source)

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The Portrait of a Lady

An alternate cover edition for this ISBN can be found here and here and here.

Introduction and Notes by Lionel Kelly, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Reading Transplanted to Europe from her native America, Isabel Archer has candour, beauty, intelligence, an independent spirit and a...
Recommended by Katie Kitamura, Salley Vickers, and 2 others.

Katie KitamuraMarriage as a social institution, marriage as a form of power—these are at the heart of the story here. (Source)

Salley VickersThe lesson here is that however much freedom you think you have, you haven’t really got it if your instincts are not free. (Source)

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The Argonauts

A timely and genre-bending memoir that offers fresh and fierce reflections on motherhood, desire, identity and feminism.

At the centre of The Argonauts is the love story between Maggie Nelson and the artist Harry Dodge, who is fluidly gendered. As Nelson undergoes the transformations of pregnancy, she explores the challenges and complexities of mothering and queer family making.

Writing in the tradition of public intellectuals like Susan Sontag, Nelson uses arresting prose even as she questions the limits of language. The Argonauts is an intrepid voyage out...

Katie KitamuraNelson’s relationship doesn’t fit into neat categories, and she forcefully critiques the binaries of our society. (Source)

Daegan MillerIt is, at heart, a long discussion of relationship: how we relate to others. (Source)

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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

Tess GerritsenThroughout the story, she feels the first wife haunt the house, and she can never quite measure up to her. And then the heroine begins to wonder: What if Rebecca was murdered? What if my husband did it? (Source)

Katie KitamuraIt’s a novel that uses the narrative form of the psychological thriller, but in the service of exploring a single emotion: jealousy. (Source)

Lucy AtkinsThe main thing about Rebecca that I find completely compelling is the way that you, the reader, become complicit in a situation which, eventually, turns into a crime. (Source)

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