Mizuki has a hardworking husband, two adorable children, and a beautiful Tokyo apartment. It's everything a woman could want, yet sometimes she wonders whether she would rather throw herself off the high-rise balcony than spend another evening not talking to her husband and hanging up laundry. A novel about marriage, motherhood, love, self and the vibrant, surprising city that is modern Tokyo.
What is the cost of a mother’s desire? In her debut novel, Fault Lines, Emily Itami explores this question with wit and poignancy ... Itami’s prose is distant, maybe inspired by the character’s remove from her own life ... Itami’s descriptions of spring in Japan are to be savored ... I was once told by an editor that the best stories offer an 'A' and a 'B' ending, but then delight a reader with a surprising but inevitable 'C.' Sadly, Itami’s novel ends with a dull option 'B.' I found myself wishing Mizuki could seek pleasure and adventure freely.
While some readers might be drawn in by the novel’s potential for blush-worthy bedroom scenes, the few that exist happen off page. Instead, what’s intriguing about Fault Lines is its shrewd commentary on Japan’s societal expectations of women as either sex objects or dutiful mothers.
Debut novelist Emily Itami has crafted a complicated romance with immense empathy for all its characters and their flaws. Following the lead of a sharp and charming protagonist Mizuki, readers absorb a wonderfully nuanced take on Tokyo life ... Fault Lines is a romantic story full of wit and charm, lovingly exposing the cracks in each of its characters' facades. In the end, it shakes each one until they have no choice but to confront their own choices.