Leo Robson at The New Statesman:
The one thing you can say for sure about Katie Kitamura’s wonderfully sly new novel – the follow-up to her 2017 breakthrough A Separation, and one of Barack Obama’s summer reading picks – is that it offers a portrait of limbo. The unnamed narrator, a Japanese woman raised in Europe, has accepted a one-year contract as an interpreter at the International Criminal Court – identified only as “the Court” – in The Hague. The book’s title – which, like that of its predecessor, rejects the firmness of the definite article – refers to the relationship one might ideally have with language, spaces, customs, other people, one’s own emotions, the past. It’s unclear, at least at first, to what degree the character’s own failure to achieve this state herself is a product of temperament or circumstances – whether she is simply adjusting, or whether this is how she always presents, and negotiates, the world.