A SEPARATION, by Katie Kitamura, Allen & Unwin.
After five years of marriage, an unnamed woman – we know only that she is youngish, British and works as a translator – agrees to separate from her husband Christopher, who mysteriously asks her to keep their separation secret, before he flies off to Greece. The novel opens a month later, when she gets a call from Christopher’s high-handed mother, Isabella, who commands her to go and retrieve her son – but she arrives to find he’s vanished. His room is in disarray; she detects strange currents running between the hotel staff. A mystery story, then? In a way, but this is no normal whodunit or psycho-drama. Katie Kitamura’s real interest in this cool-eyed, compelling novel is modern marriage itself – what it means, how it works, and what happens when it fails.