Fault Lines by Emily Itami


For fans of Sally Rooney and Helen Fielding, a witty, sharp, and moving debut novel exploring the frustrations of motherhood, the imbalance of a marriage, and the loss of self as a family builds around you.

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“Don’t let the summary fool you: this novel is disturb-those-around-you funny, dry humor and wit blanketing Mizuki’s critiques of both herself and her surroundings.

Caught between the values of her Tokyo home and her years spent in NYC, Mizuki is a fully realized character whose opinions and ways of doing things are at odds with what is expected of her and, more so, what she expects of herself. She feels unseen and stuck, her life as a wife and mother chosen but also not at all as she envisioned. And now, for the first time in a long time, she is faced with a choice that endangers the life she chose and, maybe, allows her the freedom to exist as herself.

This is an intelligent, beautiful, warm, and aching depiction of a woman whose everyday reality stifles her, demanding too much and providing too little.”


Mizuki is a Japanese housewife. She has a hardworking husband, two adorable children, and a beautiful Tokyo apartment. It’s everything a woman could want, yet sometimes she wonders whether it would be more fun to throw herself off the high-rise balcony than spend another evening not talking to her husband and hanging up laundry.

Then, one rainy night, she meets Kiyoshi, a successful restaurateur. In him, she rediscovers freedom, friendship, and the neon, electric pulse of the city she has always loved. But the further she falls into their relationship, the clearer it becomes that she is living two lives—and in the end, we can choose only one.

Funny, provocative, and startlingly honest, Fault Lines is for anyone who has ever looked in the mirror and asked, who am I and how did I get here? A bittersweet love story and a piercing portrait of female identity, it introduces Emily Itami, a debut novelist with astonishing resonance and wit.

Fault Lines by Emily Itami