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Original title:



Original language



Publication info:

Chikuma Shobō

2 December 2020

179 pages  



Literary fiction

Rights handled by New River

Foreign rights excl. Asia

Film/tv rights excl. Japan

Rights sold:

China (Thinkingdom)

Denmark (Lindhardt og Ringhof)

France (Robert Laffont)

Finland (Otava)

Germany (Hoffmann und Campe)

Hungary (Scolar)

Israel (Keter)

Italy (Mondadori)

Korea (DAEWON)

North America (Penguin Books)

Norway (tba)

Poland (JUP)

Romania (Humanitas)

Russia (AST)

Serbia (Booka)

Slovenia (Beletrina)

Spain (Temas de hoy)

The Netherlands (Mozaïek)

Turkey (İş Kültür)

UK & Comm ex Can (Harvill Secker)

World Arabic (Mahrousa)

Diary of a Void

 by Emi Yagi

34-year-old Ms. Shibata works in a company in Tokyo. She is a permanent employee, and the company is more comfortable than her previous workplace where she was made the object of sexual harassment. But this job involves working overtime everyday. Most annoyingly, as the only woman, she finds that there is an unspoken expectation, based on her gender, to see to all the menial chores: serving coffee, cleaning the kitchenette, and remedying the trash-cans. One day, sick of this state of affairs, Shibata announces she can’t clear away her colleagues’ dirty cups because she is pregnant. This is a lie, but is accepted at face value by the company, and brings results: a sudden change in the way she is treated. Immediately a new 'life' begins . . . 

Written in the diary form, the novel is an ironic and playful reference to the Japanese 'Maternal and Child Health Handbook' (Boshi Techo), a notebook issued to expectant mothers in Japan to note down all the details of the pregnancy and motherhood until the child is six years old. At once hilarious and thought-provoking, Diary of a Void not only reveals all the patriarchal aspects around maternity and pregnancy, but also challenges the truth of 'conception' on many levels.

About the author


Emi Yagi (1988-) is an editor at a magazine for older women in Tokyo. She writes in her spare time. Diary of a Void is her first novel, and it won the 36th Dazai Osamu Prize, awarded annually to debut writers.

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