- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Convenience Store Woman Paperback – 5 Jul 2018
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'Convenience Store Woman is a gem of a book. Quirky, deadpan, poignant, and quietly profound, it is a gift to anyone who has ever felt at odds with the world - and if we were truly being honest, I suspect that would be most of 'us'' -- Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
'Witty, wily, and astonishingly sharp, Convenience Store Woman proves that the deepest gouges can come from the lightest touch.'-- Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies
'Convenience Store Woman is snarky and tender. It shows a woman trying to puzzle out how to be normal. This brilliant book will resonate with all of us who find life a little strange.'-- --Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You
'This novel made me laugh. It was the first time for me to laugh in this way: it was absurd, comical, cute... audacious, and precise. It was overwhelming'--Hiromi Kawakami, author of Strange Weather in Tokyo
'I picked up this novel on a trip to Japan and couldn't put it down. A haunting, dark, and often hilarious take on society's expectations of the single woman.'-- --Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot
About the Author
One of the most celebrated of the new generation of Japanese writers, Sayaka Murata has won not only the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, but the Gunzo, Noma, and Mishima Yukio Prizes as well. Her story, 'A Clean Marriage', was featured in Granta 127 Japan. She is 36-years-old and works part-time in a convenience store. Ginny Tapley Takemori has translated Ryu Murakami, Miyabe Miyuki, Akiyuki Nosaka, and Kyotaro Nishimura, among others. Her translation of Tomiko Inui's The Secret of the Blue Glass was shortlisted for the Marsh Award.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book opens with Keiko. In her thirties, she is unmarried, a virgin, and perfectly content in her all-consuming role as a worker in a convenience store. Keiko, literal-minded, lacking even a scrap of ambition, and totally uninterested in community or social norms, is, if not happy, at least content and satisfied to have her life defined exclusively by her role as a convenience store worker. In one brilliant passage she realizes that every meal she eats is either at or from the store, and every sip of water she drinks is either at or from the store, and so for all practical purposes her physical body has been made entirely from the items for sale at the convenience store. She is, literally, the store.
SPOILERS. Keiko's world is shaken up by the arrival of a lazy, angry, confused young man who is happy to blame all of his personal failures on the unreasonable demands of society that one conform to standards of marriage, work, success, and parenting. He plays on Keiko's fear, or suspicion, that maybe she should conform as well, and so insinuates himself into Keiko's life as a sort of "beard". Here's where the book, despite not in any fashion changing its calm and modulated tone, becomes riveting. Will Keiko buckle under to society's expectations; will one of these characters transform into someone different and perhaps grander or lesser? Who really knows what's going on and who is using whom? All becomes clear in an ending that feels like a scream, but before that we are treated to a wide range of withering sketches of the people inside the norm who berate those on the outside. (And all that aside, just as a workplace comedy, which this is for the first half, Keiko's observations about work and interactions with co-workers are just priceless.)
As I say, a far cry from pastel flowers and mild murmurs. This book is witty, insightful, vinegary, and bracing, while always presenting a modest face. Keiko is sort of an idiot-savant of social norms and personal relationships, and she ends up as a fascinating character.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
The author has created a thoroughly engaging character in Keiko. It could so easily have gone the other way with a couple of outrageous thoughts and actions she quickly realised were over the top but perhaps not why. Overall, though, I enjoyed her offbeat take on life and was rooting for her to be able to live on her own terms. A thoughtful and mildly humorous book (particularly her attitude to the ‘adopted pet animal’ she introduces to her home, I’d recommend to fans of quirky, slightly noir fiction.
With thanks to Granta/Portobello via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC.
Some of the things in the book may seem strange to you if you have never been to Japan. Such as the attentiveness of those working in convenience or Konbini stores and the fact that the staff bow to you. The book is only 176 pages long so I easily read it in a couple of hours. Don't be put off by the shortness of the book - this is no usual short story. The author has packed so much meaning and nuance into the words that it feels like you've read a full length novel.
The book is set around Keiko - she is what we might think of in the West as on the autistic spectrum. She has never married and to those in Japanese society she is "not normal". Keiko is happy to continue in this world of hers, existing only to serve in the convenience store she has worked in for 18 years. She has stock answers to probing personal questions so that people will leave her alone. Unfortunately the answers are beginning to fail - she needs to find another way for people to let her be. She is perfectly happy - but it seems they are not - why does she not conform!
Beautifully written and a little quirky this is a book that will stay with me.
I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley and Granta Books for a copy of the book for review.
Most recent customer reviews