Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman

Book - 2018
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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? Sayaka Murata brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. With some laugh-out-loud moments prompted by the disconnect between Keiko's thoughts and those of the people around her, she provides a sharp look at Japanese society and the pressure to conform, as well as penetrating insights into the female mind. Convenience Store Woman is a fresh, charming portrait of an unforgettable heroine that recalls Banana Yoshimoto, Han Kang, and Amélie ." -- (Source of summary not specified)
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 2018
Edition: First American hardcover edition
ISBN: 9780802128256
0802128254
Characteristics: 163 pages ; 19 cm
Additional Contributors: Takemori, Ginny Tapley - Translator

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JCLSarahZ Oct 28, 2020

36 year old Keiko Furukura gets her self-identity from none of the usual places; sister, friend, mother, wife, etc. Instead, she draws all of her identity from her job as a part-time convenience store worker. In this delightfully weird short story we are given a glimpse into Keiko's thoughts and ambitions. Right about when things start to get mundane, the narrative unexpectedly turns from bizarre story to clever commentary on societal norms. This is a quick and quirky must read.

k
kellypeng96
Sep 11, 2020

Super quick and interesting read! I think it explores some of the nuance in capitalism and the "ideal" work+family. Got really invested in the main character from the getgo and found myself really rooting for her! Also prompted me to think about what exactly we're hoping to get out of these lives we live and what it means to be human and part of society.

s
saramarie
Aug 07, 2020

interesting & almost confusing at times. an authentic take on the extent that women are alienated from society & what is expected of them. a light read & a wild ride. better than catcher in the rye in my opinion.

t
therebeccaharris
Jul 03, 2020

https://electricliterature.com/46-books-by-women-of-color-to-read-in-2018/

e
erfinn37
Jan 07, 2020

This book was almost too bland for me personally. But maybe it needed to be mundane to get the point across. Not every book needs to be overly exciting to encourage thought.

d
dirtbag
Nov 08, 2019

The main character is extremely odd but you can't help but cheer for her. The book has to do with Japan's aging demographic and the expectations of the young that result, but it could just as well be talking about Canada and the US. I wasn't going to say anything about her mental health but I realized that I am annoyed that people who have NO training in mental health have labelled her autistic (or worse in StarGladiator's case). That judgement is exactly what this book is about. She is not normal, so the people that think that they are, feel entitled to lay a judgement on her. I think this book is about self-acceptance and being proud of who you are! More power to her, since the book is at least semi-biographical. Oh, and why do people think you have to be sixteen or older to read this book? Do they think it is corrupting?

m
MikeEe
Oct 12, 2019

Keiko-san is a fish out of water, but she knows it. Even better, she understands the workings of those more socially attuned around her, and so, to function, she perfectly inhabits the world of the konbini (コンビニ), where she is the top employee. That is until she takes in a misogynist, the complete loser, Shiraha (first, I accidentally typed Shitaha - how appropriate), and he begins to consume and ruin her life. Will Keiko-san realize her mistake in time and find her way back to her former happy life, or will this end like a Rohinton Mistry novel where somebody ends up throwing themselves in front of a commuter train? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Bonus - masterful translation - it reads as if it were originally written in English with a great understanding of Japanese sensibility.

The bio says that the author, Sayaka Murata, works part-time at a コンビニ. I want to shop at Murata-san’s コンビニ. It will be the uber-コンビニ!

s
StarGladiator
Oct 11, 2019

Quirky? Definitely, and reads like Voltaire's Candide for sociopaths.
Also could be titled: A Case Study of the Submersive Sociopathic Personality for Survival Purposes.
During my life I've come into contact with at least three serial killers and four mass murderers - - only aware of this after the fact, of course. One I met at an ultra-flakey company I remained at for all of three days before bailing out - - he was a clean-cut appearing young fellow, but he exhibited that off-kilter behavior: a measured response to every question, no matter how ordinary or mundane.
Thankfully, he was exterminated -- or executed -- but prior to his execution he gave a chilling interview. The interviewer was probing for a traumatic event in his childhood to explain his demonic actions, but Wesley Allen Dodd was quite candid and honest, stating that he had enjoyed a normal and nice childhood and upbringing, he simply derived pleasure from perpetrating the most evil crimes imaginable!
[I cannot believe other commenters did not pick up on the sociopathology of the main character?! Quite perplexing . . .]

h
hihijenny
Sep 23, 2019

It's a very fast read. Just 163 pages. It's an interesting concept where it peeks into the world of older individuals that struggle with social norms. It's a cute story with Japanese customs and flare that makes us Westerners think more about what our social norms are for marriage, careers, etc. Conclusion is a bit abrupt but over all a nice book to read. Great for commuting to work.

j
jmithen
Sep 16, 2019

weird. fast read. asian storekeeper. sort of entertaining. not sure why she let that guy keep living with her.

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hihijenny
Sep 23, 2019

hihijenny thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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