May 5, 2022

Book Review: Fault Lines by Emily Itami

 

Fault Lines by Emily Itami, September 7, 2021, Custom House
Genre: contemporary women's fiction, multicultural
Setting: Tokyo
Source: library book
 
Review: 
Fault Lines is about a mother and wife feeling trapped in household duties with young children, having no career of her own and an indifferent often absent husband who seems to take little interest in her home life. Mizuki has no other outlet outside of  being a perfect Japanese mother and wife, and misses the days when she was single and worked as a singer.

Enter Kiyoshi, whom Mizuki begins a friendship with that becomes more serious as they spend many days and evenings together exploring the vibrant city that is Tokyo.  Her outings happen during the school hours and on the  evenings when her children are asleep with a babysitter and her husband is working late at the office.

The cultural aspects of being a traditional woman, mother, and wife in Japan stood out for me. The rigorous expectations of society for women are difficult for Mizuki as she has lived in the U.S. and experienced more freedom and life choices. That she finds comfort in a friendship outside of her marriage is not a surprise. The outcome of this friendship could go both ways, as Mizuki is influenced by her culture and her love for her children. She describes the fault lines in herself as similar to the ones that lie beneath the city of Tokyo, always threatening to plunge the city into a catastrophe. 

I enjoyed touring Tokyo by day and night through the book, visiting the various sights, restaurants, and museums and the crowded and busy main streets. The story was excellently told to reveal a place and culture that many Westerners don't know or may not understand very well.
 

Book beginning:

The whole Kyoshi situation started a long time before he was ever in the picture. The way a calligraphy painting begins before the first black stroke makes it onto the page. 

Page 56: 

The bar was in Shinjuku, and though places were closing, the streets were still full of people.


The Friday 56. Find any sentence that grabs you on page 56 of your book. Post it, and add your URL to Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

24 comments:

  1. It sounds amazing. I lived in Japan for 3 years, and witnessed several eathquakes. I like that this explores the women of Japan and the expectations of society

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    1. That must have been quite an experience with the earthquakes. I gather that minor shakes are common there.

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  2. This sounds interesting! My brother and his family lived in Japan for 3 years and loved it!

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    1. I have visited a couple of times but never for that long!

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  3. This sounds like a book I'd love. The Japanese culture and language is something I've loved since I was a young child. I'm definitely putting this on my TBR. Thanks for an awesome review. :)

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    1. I hope you enjoy reading about the culture and place as I did!

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  4. I love the title of this book, and how the main character sees fault lines in her own life. And the Japanese setting is also a draw. I think I would like this book. :)

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    1. Yes. I would say this book is an excellent contribution to women's fiction.

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  5. I have this one and have been meaning to get to it. I love what you posted about it.

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  6. That's a very poetic opening. Sounds like a good book.

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  7. You've captured my interest! Happy weekend!

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  8. I love that it's set in Tokyo. Have a great weekend!

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    Replies
    1. I've been to Japan but not yet to Tokyo.

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  9. When old and new cultural traditions collide. Bet this was good. My book is GOOD ENOUGH

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  10. This sounds like a book I need to read. I love books that examine women’s lives in other cultures. Thanks for sharing. Great review.

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