Diary of a Void

A hilarious, feminist read from the new star of Japanese fiction

Emi Yagi author Lucy North translator David Boyd translator


Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:11th Aug '22


Available to order, but very limited on stock - if we have issues obtaining a copy, we will let you know.

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Diary of a Void cover

Discover this prizewinning, thrillingly subversive new novel that's perfect for fans of Convenience Store Woman and Breasts and Eggs.

'One of the most intriguing new novels of the summer,' Independent

For the sake of women everywhere, Ms Shibata is going to pull off the mother of all deceptions...

As the only woman in her office, Ms Shibata is expected to do all the menial tasks. One day she announces that she can't clear away her coworkers' dirty cups - because she's pregnant and the smell nauseates her. The only thing is . . . Ms Shibata is not pregnant.

Pregnant Ms Shibata doesn't have to serve coffee to anyone. Pregnant Ms Shibata isn't forced to work overtime. Pregnant Ms Shibata can rest, watch TV, take long baths, and even join an aerobics class for expectant mothers. But she has a nine-month ruse to keep up. Before long, it becomes all-absorbing, and with the help of towel-stuffed shirts and a diary app that tracks every stage of her 'pregnancy', the boundary between her lie and her life begins to dissolve.

Diary of a Void will keep you turning the pages to see just how far Ms Shibata will go.

Translated from the Japanese by David Boyd and Lucy North

'Darkly funny and surprisingly tender.'Kirsty Logan, author of Things We Say in the Dark

If you're in the mood for a matter-of-fact and incredibly thought-provoking read, you'll love Yagi's writing. * Stylist *
The tension grows along with the comedic details. . . . Diary of a Void starts as stylish satire... but it becomes something even more profound. Always expect the unexpected when you're not expecting. -- Sloane Crosley * Departures *
A subversive, surreal read that will strike a cord. * Red Magazine *
One of the most passionate cases I've ever read for female interiority, for women's creative pulse and rich inner life. * The New Yorker *
Endlessly strange, funny and meaningful... This book is a powerful exploration of what it means to be single and childless, and of the impact of work on our bodies and mental health * Good Housekeeping, *Books of the Year* *
Yagi has a light touch for the endless ironies made possible by her premise. There is humor, but also the realization that the alienation of pregnancy and motherhood is no reprieve from the oppressive office culture that inspires Shibata's experiment. -- Lauren Oyler * New York Times Book Review *
Delightful . . . Yagi's focus is on how acting pregnant reshapes Shibata's relationship to herself... Yet the book never idealizes pregnancy...We see the difficulty of being a woman with or without a child, and Yagi emphasizes how society makes both roles harder... If you've ever wanted to bite back at a nosy boss, a rude co-worker, an unfair assignment, or the endless list of shoulds we face, then maybe you'll find something to enjoy in Shibata's audacity too. -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan * The Atlantic *
One of the most intriguing new novels of the summer. * Independent *
Shibata is a modern-day Bartleby. * The Baffler *
Darkly funny and surprisingly tender. -- Kirsty Logan, author of THINGS WE SAY IN THE DARK
In Diary of a Void, what begins as a bud of a lie blossoms into a gripping and thought provoking examination of womanhood and motherhood in a patriarchal society. A short read but by no means is this a small story. -- An Yu, author of BRAISED PORK
So tightly written, and so much fun to read. -- Kikuko Tsumura, author of THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS AN EASY JOB
Comical and tender, absurd, bold and joyful. -- Aysegul Savas, author of WHITE ON WHITE
Yagi captures Shibata's loneliness and the community she's granted upon 'falling into step' with her married peers in such a keen way that, reading along, you're on pins and needles to discover what will happen... The [fun] premise pays off. -- Eliza Smith * Literary Hub *
Riveting and surreal . . . Absurdist, amusing, and clever, the story brings subtlety and tact to its depiction of workplace discrimination-as well as a touch of magic. Readers will eagerly turn the pages all the way to the bold conclusion. * Publishers Weekly *
A book that reflects on life, solitude and what it means to be a woman. * Financial Times, *Books of the Year* *
A surreal, engrossing meditation on loneliness, womanhood, and what it actually means to have a work-life balance. -- Ruth Murai * Mother Jones *
Takes office toxicity and how we cope to new heights. * Fortune *
I found myself completely captivated by this novel's unusual and inviting premise and all that it questions and stirs up. -- Aimee Bender, author of THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE
I loved it. It's incredible. Diary of a Void is joyful, exuberant, and triumphant. It made my heart sing. -- Claire Oshetsky, author of CHOUETTE
Filled with sly humor and touching intimacy, Diary of a Void builds from its revolutionary premise into a powerfully resonant story of longing and defiance. An absolutely thrilling read - I didn't want to put it down. -- Claire Stanford, author of HAPPY FOR YOU
In this fictional diary of a pregnant woman, it is the real, rather than the made-up, aspects of society, such as single parenting and discrimination against women in the workplace, that are powerfully depicted. -- Kyoko Nakajima, author of THE LITTLE HOUSE
Yagi artfully blurs the boundary between truth and lies with this riotous solution to women's workplace challenges. * The Washington Post *
[A] penetrating look at working life and gender expectations... In a tone perfectly modulated in Boyd and North's translation, Shibata's dry observations and choices are both relatable and humorous...At the heart of the story is Yagi's wry and witty consideration of how one woman, tangled up in a web of deceit, struggles to live a meaningful life through work and her relationships with others. * The Japan Times *
Charming and funny * Crack Magazine *

ISBN: 9781787302945

Dimensions: 217mm x 135mm x 17mm

Weight: 235g

224 pages