Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman is narrated by Keiko Furukara and right from the start it’s clear that she’s a little bit odd and doesn’t fit in, but Keiko is frequently as baffled by other people as they are by her. At times Keiko is hard to relate to as she questions her humanity and there are moments when her lack of empathy and violent impulses add a sinister edge to the story.

As a university student Keiko takes a part-time job in a convenience store, where she finds a reassuring sense of routine, predictability and purpose, and she finally starts to feel like an ordinary, productive member of society. Eighteen years later, at the age of 36, Keiko is single, childless and still working part-time at the convenience store, and feeling pressure to conform as she realises that concerned family members and peers view her with a combination of curiosity and pity because they can’t imagine how she could be content when she’s deviated from the path of career, marriage and children that everyone else followed.

Convenience Store Woman2

Then, into Keiko’s orderly and predictable workplace, comes a new employee, Shiraha, a mid-30s slacker with a victim mentality who looks down on both the work and the other workers, but who is on the hunt for a marriage partner to support him. Shiraha is an interesting foil for Keiko, and he becomes the catalyst that pushes Keiko to choose between pretending to be normal and conforming to social expectations, or accepting herself for who she is and doing what makes her happy.

Convenience Store Woman is a short book and easy to read, but also a thought-provoking and powerful exploration of self-acceptance, conformity and societal pressure. Have a lovely week! X

5 thoughts on “Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

  1. Oh this sounds pretty good. I shall look out for it. I can even kind of identity! I never really wanted a career or children….and have worked in a supermarket for 29 years on checkouts, shop floor and now counters. In two weeks I am leaving, having taken redundancy! I have been married in my younger days and it only lasted one year…so not really in a hurry for that again either. However my situation over the past few years has been really content and happy. Anyway to much info! I will have plenty of time to hunt out the book anyway…:) X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. People often seem to equate achievement and status with happiness, and personally I feel like I spent years trying to tick off milestones and significant events like items on a shopping list but the older I get the less I worry about what other people think of me and I’m much happier now I’m not striving to meet some external checklist of success. It’s a strange but interesting novel, I hope you enjoy it and best of luck for whatever the next chapter of your life holds! 😊X

      Liked by 1 person

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