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‘A brilliant modern love story. I found it atmospheric and transporting but also wise, clever and universal in its exploration of love, family and identity. I loved it’ Cathy Rentzenbrink

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 or hanging up laundry.

Then, one rainy night, she meets Kiyoshi, a successful restaurateur. In him, she rediscovers freedom, friendship, a voice, 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.

Alluring, compelling, startlingly honest and darkly funny, Fault Lines is a bittersweet love story and a daring exploration of modern relationships from a writer to watch.

Reviews

A brilliant modern love story. I found it atmospheric and transporting but also wise, clever and universal in its exploration of love, family and identity. I loved it.
Cathy Rentzenbrink, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Last Act of Love
An addictive and beautiful novel with a fantastic voice, full of wry humour and sharp observations. It's funny and tragic, passionate and bold, and I know I'll be thinking about it for a long time to come.
Kate Murray-Browne, author of The Upstairs Room
An utterly accomplished novel that navigates the inner yearnings of the heart in stylish, sparky and engrossing prose. I absolutely loved it
Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone Is Watching
Exploring motherhood and Japanese culture, I found this a fascinating and insightful read.
Nina Pottell, PRIMA
A lyrical story about love and a fascinating look at the collision of old and new traditions in modern Tokyo.
Sarra Manning, RED
Atmospheric
NEW! MAGAZINE
Itami captures the magic of Tokyo and makes it part of the couple's relationship, complete with cherry blossoms, tiny bars and excellent food... it punches above its weight in its themes and the maturity with which it examines them, such as how love intertwines with or comes up against duty, and the feeling of having lost a part of oneself. Although she situates these ideas in a very specific social context, Itami manages to make them universal.
Alys Key, I NEWSPAPER
For me it's the strong sense of place and Japanese culture that makes this short novel a worthy addition to the never-ending body of fiction on marital and domestic dissatisfaction. The perfect long-haul escape, albeit liable to induce its own frustrations in the form of wanderlust
The Literary Sofa, Summer Reads 2021
This delicate and beautiful love story will fill your heart... Short, emotional and very funny, Emily Itami's debut is an unmissable treat for romantics everywhere.
Francesca Brown, STYLIST
It's rare to find a character that truly embodies the contradictions of contemporary motherhood, so thank goodness for Mizuki. An incredible portrait of love, strength, rage and fragility
Marianne Levy
Another striking debut, this bittersweet love story follows a Japanese housewife caught between tradition and modernity
Stylist
A very shrewd and funny story of a marriage and a wife whose identity has been annihilated by the very culture she railed against as a young woman
@itshelenwhitaker
Mizuki is a Japanese housewife. She has a hardworking husband, two children and a beautiful Tokyo apartment. But one night, she meets restaurateur Kiyoshi and rediscovers freedom. The further she falls into their relationship, the clearer it becomes that she is living two lives - and in the end, she can only choose one
Bella
What is the cost of a mother's love? In her debut novel Fault Lines, Emily Itami explores this question with wit and poignancy . . . dreamy . . . Itami's descriptions of spring in Japan are to be savoured
New York Times
Shrewd commentary on Japan's societal expectations of women
Washington Post