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Diary of a Void is Emi Yagi's prize-winning, thrillingly subversive debut novel about the mother of all deceptions.
When thirty-four-year-old Ms. Shibata gets a new job to escape sexual harassment at her old one, she finds that as the only woman at her new workplace—a manufacturer of cardboard tubes—she 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 watches TV, takes long baths, and even joins an aerobics class for expectant mothers. She’s living a year of rest and relaxation, and is finally being treated by her colleagues as more than a hollow core. But she has a 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.
"Explosive... I binge-read this book in two days and am hungry for more from this debut novelist." ― Chloe Veltman, NPR’s “Books We Love”
"Few novels live up to their promise of revelatory social commentary. But a particularly good one can still tempt even the most cynical of readers... Yagi has a light touch for the endless ironies made possible by her premise. There is humor ('since I got pregnant’ becomes a delightful refrain), 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, The New York Times Book Review