Mizuki is a traditional Japanese housewife. She lives a comfortable life in Tokyo with her husband and their two young children. Her life is centered around serving the needs of her family. The older she gets, the further away she is from her once free-spirited and rebellious life. Before getting married, she lived in New York City and became a singer in local clubs. Once she realized her singing career had no great future, she married Tatsuya. After a good start in their marriage, Tatsuya is now consumed with his job and has little time for Mizuki. A chance encounter with Kiyoshi, a successful restauranteur who she develops a friendship with, brings back her lost exuberance towards life. Kiyoshi is romantically interested in Mizuki and she cannot deny her excitement each time she sees him. It’s a real dilemma that most Japanese housewives would never contemplate.
Fault Lines is a primarily a stream of consciousness from Mizuki as she tries to cope with her life, which is not giving her the satisfaction she craves. The reader can feel her struggles. It is an interesting look into the Japanese culture and what society expects of its women. The writing is lovely and author Emily Itami often brings a sense of humor to Mizuki’s day-to-day, tiresome existence. It will surprise readers that this is the author’s debut.
Many thanks to William Morrow / Custom House, HarperCollins, the Book Club Girls and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in advance of its release. While the culture may be different, the feelings of questioning the life you chose is universal.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: September 7, 2021.
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