Author picture

Emily Itami

Author of Fault Lines

2 Works 274 Members 11 Reviews

Works by Emily Itami

Fault Lines (2021) 273 copies, 11 reviews


Common Knowledge

Tokyo, Japan
Short biography
Emily grew up in Tokyo before moving to London, where she now lives. She has been widely published as a freelance journalist and travel writer.



I loved this debut novel—more than I was expecting: a perfect marriage of lovely language and devourable length; complex, relatable characters and enticing plot; slightly gritty emotions and quietly sarcastic humor. This is a book about the messiness of marriage and motherhood, shifting friendships and relationships, happiness and responsibility. It’s about the secrets we sometimes keep in order to keep part of ourself to ourself.
lizallenknapp | 10 other reviews | Apr 20, 2024 |
A book blog I read, Modern Mrs. Darcy, mentioned this book in the category of classic retellings and it piqued my interest. Supposedly this is a retelling of Madame Bovary but I had to be told that; it isn't something I thought of as I read it.

This book is set in Tokyo and the city is almost a character in the novel. I've never been there but, after reading this book, I can see the appeal. In fact, if someone is headed to Tokyo this would be a good guide book. Mizuki is a stay-at-home mom to two children, Eri (10) and Aki (4), with a workaholic husband named Tatsuyo. Before her marriage, she was a singer so this is a real change for her. Sixteen years into the marriage she is bored and tired of being ignored by her husband. It wasn't until she met a restaurateur, Kiyoshi, that she thought about having an affair. At first, it wasn't even an affair; she was just so thankful to spend time with a man who held conversations with her. But, inevitably, they started to have sex and, essentially, that destroyed the friendship.

I loved all the details about Mizuki's domestic life especially her interactions with her kids. She is a really good mom. There's a scene of her with the kids in the subway when an earthquake hits that is visceral.
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gypsysmom | 10 other reviews | Feb 6, 2024 |
this book was beautiful
lindywilson | 10 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |
Mizuki , the protagonist of Fault Lines, is a mother and homemaker with a 'less than blissful' life. While she is not lacking in material comforts, her joyful spirit and spontaneity have taken a backseat to the demands of daily life. She goes about her days catering to the needs of her two children feeling ignored by her workaholic husband and reflects on her life choices with wry humor and candid pragmatism. Even though she spends a few hours a week as an Intercultural Consultant teaching foreigners about the culture and customs of Japan so that they find it easier to assimilate, her existance is predominantly defined as wife and mother.

On a rare night out with friends ,she meets Kiyoshi in whose company no longer feels 'excluded'. The time they spend togethor revives her parched soul and joyful spirit . No pretentions and no subterfuge. She is honest with him and he with her. Her take on her husband's indifference also changes.

"After all the years I've spent with him not seeing me , I don't see him any more either. We exist like two blind fish, sliding past each other cordially in our parallel universe, it's a great solution."

While Mizuki enjoys Kiyoshi's company and attention she is practical enough to understand how her decisions affect everyone around her. She knows what she is doing and she knows what it is she has to do. It comes down to making choices and managing expectations - what we expect from life and what others expect from us.

"What are we, apart from the stories we tell ourselves and other people?"

With its thoughtfully penned characters , wry humor, eloquently introspective tones and vivid almost peotic imagery of Tokyo (I have to mention that the cover art is stunning!),Emily Itami's Fault Lines does not disappoint. Mizuki's witty , introspective take on her life is what makes this novel so wonderfully engaging. In Mizuki , Emily Itami has drawn an intelligent woman who allows you to laugh with her and laugh at her all the while admiring her spirit . You don't have to feel sorry for her because you know that she will be okay. With such a lovely debut I am eagerly looking forward to reading more of Emily Itami's books in the future.

I received an ARC of this novel from HarperCollins under no obligation. The review reflects my honest and unbiased opinion.
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srms.reads | 10 other reviews | Sep 4, 2023 |



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