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Convenience Store Woman (2016)

by Sayaka Murata

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2681485,991 (3.78)193
Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so that she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis--but will it be for the better?… (more)
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» See also 193 mentions

English (134)  German (4)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Piratical (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (148)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Well, quirky, yes it was. But also a little disturbing trying to understand the mind of a person out of step with the wider society. I had the same discomfort with Eleanor Oliphant. ( )
  JudyGibson | Jan 26, 2023 |
Peculiar novel about a very odd woman who dedicates her life to the convenience store where she has worked all of her adult life. Very funny and also kind of spooky - nothing supernatural but a good exploration of just how weird people can be. The protagonist seems to have Aspergers or something like that, but through her eyes we also see just how strange other people are as well. Listened to the audiobook. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Watching someone being extremely good at their job, learning about the intricacies of a convenience store, and a general FU to conformity, these are all things that win my thumbs of approval and so it'll come as no surprise that this book rates highly with me.

At one point during the experimental plan and the book mentioned the word "parasite", I got worried for Keiko in case of the Parasite twist. But luckily for me, Murata knows how to wrap up the story perfectly. I loved this. ( )
  kitzyl | Dec 31, 2022 |
An intriguing and darkly funny look at expectations placed on women in modern society, this was a total blast. ( )
  Chris.Cummings | Dec 29, 2022 |
This may have just been a bit too cerebral for me.

I really enjoyed portions of the story. Initially getting to know the MC, Keiko Furukura was interesting. She has a unique view of the world, one that I think someone who is neurodivergent may appreciate. The idea of masking resonated with me, how the MC changes her voice and behavior depending on how she sees the world around her responding, mimicking her coworkers tone and inflection and word patterns. Also, seeing how the MC thrives off of the day-to-day routine of being a convenience store worker, in contrast to what society expects from a person, ie; to move on to a more professional, well-paying job, get married and have children.

I really disliked the Shiraha character. Obviously he is meant to be disliked, but Keiko’s willingness to bend to Shiraha’s will just didn’t sit well with how I felt Keiko’s personality was meant to be. Of course we see that surface later on in the story.

For such a short book, it took me a while to read because I lost interest in it about halfway through. ( )
  acligon | Dec 19, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
...for all the disturbance and oddity in “Convenience Store Woman,” the book dares the reader to interpret it as a happy story about a woman who has managed to craft her own “good life.”
 
Convenience Store Woman closely observes the inevitable failures of a society to embrace all within it, and the contrasting ways disenfranchised men and women manage to cope... Through the eyes of perceptive, dispassionate Keiko, the ways in which we’re all commodified and reduced to our functions become clear. What’s unclear is what other option we have. We all want to be individuals, and yet we also want to fit in somewhere. We all want to be seen for our own intangible humanity, and yet we see others for their utility.
 
Murata’s slim and stunning Akutagawa Prize–winning novel follows 36-year-old Keiko Furukura, who has been working at the same convenience store for the last 18 years, outlasting eight managers and countless customers and coworkers.... Murata’s smart and sly novel, her English-language debut, is a critique of the expectations and restrictions placed on single women in their 30s. This is a moving, funny, and unsettling story about how to be a “functioning adult” in today’s world
added by Lemeritus | editPublishers Weekly (Apr 9, 2018)
 
A sly take on modern work culture and social conformism, told through one woman’s 18-year tenure as a convenience store employee.... Murata provides deceptively sharp commentary on the narrow social slots people—particularly women—are expected to occupy and how those who deviate can inspire bafflement, fear, or anger in others.... A unique and unexpectedly revealing English language debut.
added by Lemeritus | editKirkus Reviews (Mar 20, 2018)
 
In Sayaka Murata’s “Convenience Store Woman,” a small, elegant and deadpan novel from Japan, a woman senses that society finds her strange, so she culls herself from the herd before anyone else can do it. She becomes an anonymous, long-term employee of the Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart, a convenience store, a kiosk for her floating soul...“Convenience Store Woman” has touched a chord in Japan, where it has sold close to 600,000 copies....I have mixed feelings about “Convenience Store Woman,” but there is no doubt that it is a thrifty and offbeat exploration of what we must each leave behind to participate in the world.
 

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sayaka Murataprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bornas, MarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coci, GianlucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emond, VibekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gräfe, UrsulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holm, MetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nolla, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamae-Bouhon, MathildeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tapley Takemori, GinnyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Haute, LukTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wu, NancyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A convenience store is a world of sound.
Quotations
But so far as I could see, aside from a few minor differences they were all just an animal called a baby and looked much the same, just like stray cats all looked much the same.
I find the shape of people's eyes particularly interesting when they’re being condescending. I see a wariness or a fear of being contradicted or sometimes a belligerent spark ready to jump on any attack.  And if they’re unaware of being condescending, their glazed-over eyeballs are steeped in a fluid mix of ecstasy and a sense of superiority.
...you should really either get a job or get married, one or the other...Or better still, you should do both.
I couldn’t stop hearing the store telling me the way it wanted to be, what it needed.  It was all flowing into me. It wasn’t me speaking. It was the store. I was just channeling its revelations from on high
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so that she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis--but will it be for the better?

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Book description
Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of "Smile Mart," she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction — many are laid out line by line in the store's manual — and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a "normal" person excellently, more or less. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action...
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