How did your reading go this month? Did you read something set in Japan that you enjoyed? Share in the comments!
“After all the years I’ve spent with him not seeing me, I don’t see him anymore either. We exist like two blind fish, sliding past each other cordially in our parallel universes.”
― Emily Itami, Fault Lines
I read our main title: Fault Lines by Emily Itami. This was a very quick read and honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of it as I was reading. At the end, I found myself wanting to know more about the lives of the characters and their own justifications for their actions.
Mizuki is a Japanese housewife. She has everything she could ever want: a hardworking husband, a beautiful apartment in Tokyo, and two adorable children. She should be happy, right? Wrong. Sometimes Mizuki finds herself standing on her high-rise balcony wanting to throw herself off and end it all. Her husband spends what little time he has with them glued to his phone, plus he is constantly being pulled away to work. All she does is clean up after her kids and hang up endless laundry.
One night while out with friends, Mizuki meets Kiyoshi and her whole life changes. Kiyoshi is a successful restaurateur. As the two get to know each other, Mizuki’s world starts to expand. She feels alive again and starts to rediscover all of the things that she has lost through the years. He is a breath of freedom, bringing her a new friendship she greatly needed. The two dive into exploring Tokyo, becoming closer. Their relationship changes overtime, illuminating for Mizuki that she is actually living two lives. In the end, Mizuki has to choose one: her family or Kiyoshi.
All in all, this debut novel was relatable and discussed choices, adulthood, and the dichotomy between freedom and tradition in ways that actually made sense. A mother’s desire cannot be ignored. Watching Mizuki battle with herself while she tried to figure out what she wanted was riveting. Her discussion of the morals and mores of Japan and how they butt up against those of people from outside Japan was enlightening. The warring cultural expectations complicated Mizuki’s life as she tried to find a balance between her past and present, her life as a sexual being and her life as a dutiful mother. This was a refreshing read and I have high hopes for the author’s next book!
In September, we’re headed to New York City!