‘Fault Lines’: a refreshing new read by Emily Itami

I recently finished ‘Fault Lines’ by Emily Itami. After getting back into reading earlier this year, it’s been a while since I posted a book review.

So, when I happened upon this short novel by chance in my local library, I knew I had to write something about it!

‘Fault Lines’ is a refreshing new read told from the perspective of Mizuki, a woman who “has it all” in modern Tokyo. Her husband abides by the cultural expectations, working hard everyday and barely seeing their two children, Aki and Eri.

However, Mizuki is bored in her life as the “perfect” Tokyo housewife, and she feels trapped in this city of expectations and pressure.

The book follows Mizuki’s new friendship with a stranger, Kiyoshi. As she begins to spend more and more time with Kiyoshi, she opens herself up to new experiences and learns important things about herself.

I absolutely loved this book! It is a short, easy to read and beautifully written book, looking at important topics through Mizuki’s honest, open and insightful narration.

I loved the way this book was written. It isn’t hard to immerse yourself in Mizuki’s life, and I really came to care for the narrator. Some of the turns of phrase used by Emily Itami were just so beautiful, and I loved her writing style.

‘Fault Lines’ was a refreshing new read that didn’t remind me of any other books I’ve read in the past. It was unique and it brought me into Mizuki’s life completely.

In the book, Mizuki discusses her time in America as a teenager, crediting a lot of her current frustration to the fact that she could have achieved more- and she can imagine a different life to the one she lives now.

I thought this was a really interesting discussion about family, expectations and motherhood– especially the ending chosen by Itami.

I loved that this book didn’t present different issues as black and white. I didn’t feel like Mizuki was a bad person for pursuing this friendship with another man, but I also didn’t think her husband was a bad person for working hard all the time.

Itami makes you realise that not everything is black and white all the time.

I also loved the characters in this book. There weren’t a lot of characters, but each one was unique and three-dimensional.

I thought the relationship between Mizuki and her distant husband, and the relationship between Mizuki and Kiyoshi were also really well-written. Itami cleverly presented the differences between a long-term life partnership and a new friendship, and Mizuki’s narration was thoughtful and relatable as she discussed these two relationships.

There was so much information about Japanese culture included in this book. From Kiyoshi and Mizuki’s adventures visiting restaurants in Tokyo to Mizuki and her kids participating in Japanese traditions, I really enjoyed learning a bit about Japanese culture, language, attitudes and lifestyle.

Tokyo sounds like a fascinating city!

Overall, ‘Fault Lines’ was a refreshing new read that came to me at just the right time. It was witty, revealing and really insightful.

I really recommend checking out this book for a nuanced and fantastic insight into Japanese culture and one woman’s journey to understand herself and her role within her family.

Have you read ‘Fault Lines’ by Emily Itami? Do you enjoy finding new books to read? What was the last book that you loved?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

Happy reading x

9 thoughts

  1. Hey, it’s great that you’re reading again. And this book sounds like my kinda read. I shall add it to my TBR. Thank you for your awesome review. Keep on this reading pleasure girl. Reading makes you smart and sexy ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

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