The hague

Interpreting for a dictator: Intimacies, by Katie Kitamura, reviewed

If this is a cautious and circumspect novel, it’s because it involves a cautious and circumspect job: that of interpreter. The young woman at the centre of the story speaks fluent English, Japanese and French, with some German and Spanish. She grew up in Paris, then lived in New York, but death and disruption in the family mean that city no longer feels like home. On a sudden impulse, she applies for a temporary job at The Hague, working at ‘the Court’. What she doesn’t speak is Dutch, though linguistically she’s a quick study. The instability felt when negotiating a new city without fully understanding the language is echoed by