Convenience Store Woman: A Novel

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Grove Press, Jun 12, 2018 - Fiction - 176 pages
56 Reviews
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The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most talented contemporary writers, selling over 650,000 copies there, Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. 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. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. 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...

A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jonerthon - LibraryThing

The food critic Ruth Reichl recommended this title in a long list of food-related fiction, and I'm glad she did! The protagonist, Keiko, is a woman in her mid-thirties that has happily worked in a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - steve02476 - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (2018)

Sayaka Murata is the author of many books, including Convenience Store Woman, winner of Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize. She used to work part-time in a convenience store, which inspired this novel. Murata has been named a Freeman’s “Future of New Writing” author, and her work has appeared in Granta and elsewhere. In 2016, Vogue Japan selected her as a Woman of the Year.

Ginny Tapley Takemori has translated works by more than a dozen Japanese writers, including Ryū Murakami. She lives at the foot of a mountain in Eastern Japan.

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