Fault Lines


Emily Itami

Phoenix Books, World English, May 2021

Fault Lines was shortlisted in the First Novel Prize 2019. It is published as the first title of Phoenix Books, a new imprint under Orion/Hachette UK.

From the publisher:

‘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.’

‘I think writing a book and trying to get published feels like you’re trying to get somewhere in the dark, and you’re building the thing you need to get there as you go along – sometimes you have confidence in what you’re doing, mostly you wonder if you’re totally deluded, and you have no idea if your destination is just around the corner, or miles away and you’re going in the wrong direction. That’s what it felt like to me, anyway. I really felt that if even one person, preferably not related to me, could read the book and get something from it, I would be satisfied, and that was what I felt about being shortlisted for the First Novel Prize – that it had made a connection with somebody, and wherever it went from that point onwards, I wasn’t completely insane. I opened the email when I was in a car with my friend – I think she thought it was some kind of medical emergency. It gave me a feeling of legitimacy, the confidence I needed to keep pedalling. I’m so happy (that is really a very weak statement for how I feel) that Fault Lines is going to be published in May, and so grateful to the First Novel Prize for the push it gave me on the journey to get here.’ Emily Itami

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