A Review: “Fault Lines” by Emily Itami

Fault Lines was a book I randomly bought solely based on the cover. Set in Tokyo, the novel begins with housewife Mizuki debating jumping off the balcony of her highrise apartment where she lives with her husband and two children. This book is a debut novel for author Emily Itami.

Here is the book’s description:

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 she would rather 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 as a debut novelist with astounding resonance and wit.

What I Liked About the Book

Compared to some of the other books I’ve read recently, I enjoyed the author’s writing style. It was very descriptive with not much dialog and mostly inner thoughts of the main character. I also enjoyed learning about Tokyo and certain aspects of Japanese culture from reading the book. I really felt for Mizuki who is trapped in her marriage to a man who pays no attention to her.

My Critiques

Unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. Although I could understand where Mizuki was coming from, being that this book was about an affair, it was nowhere near as exciting as the plot description made it seem. There just was not much passion in it at all. The book was more about Mizuki and her thought process regarding her entire life and very little about her affair with Kiyoshi, which was really more of an emotional affair than anything. There weren’t really many plot points. It was definitely more of a thought-driven plot more so than an action-driven one.

My Verdict: Fault Lines is Not Worth Reading

I hate writing reviews like this, but sometimes we have to read not-so-great books to appreciate the ones we like! I’m actually a little torn on whether this book was worth reading or not. I liked some things about it, but mostly felt it was lackluster and had no passion. I’d be interested to see what author Emily Itami writes next. Overall, I’d give this book 2.5 to 3 stars.

Similar Books to This One

According to Goodreads, you may like this book if you have read the following: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn, Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds, and The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams.

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