Convenience Store Woman
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.

Convenience Store Woman Details

TitleConvenience Store Woman
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 12th, 2018
PublisherGrove Press
Rating
GenreFiction, Cultural, Japan, Contemporary, Asian Literature, Japanese Literature

Convenience Store Woman Review

  • Taryn
    January 1, 1970
    Keiko Furukura lives an atypical life. At thirty-six-years-old, she's a virgin and completely disinterested in romantic relationships. She has worked part-time at a Japanese convenience store for eighteen years. Her family was thrilled when she was first employed because they saw it as a sign of her growth as a person. Keiko has always been considered peculiar, but the job helped her finally become an "ordinary person." The convenience store is "a dependable, normal world" where she's valued as Keiko Furukura lives an atypical life. At thirty-six-years-old, she's a virgin and completely disinterested in romantic relationships. She has worked part-time at a Japanese convenience store for eighteen years. Her family was thrilled when she was first employed because they saw it as a sign of her growth as a person. Keiko has always been considered peculiar, but the job helped her finally become an "ordinary person." The convenience store is "a dependable, normal world" where she's valued as an equal amongst her coworkers and receives no scrutiny about her personal life. Best of all, there's a written manual that tells her exactly how she needs to behave! She absorbs the personalities of her coworkers and uses them to construct her own "normal person" identity: "Infecting each other like this is how we maintain ourselves as human." Everyone assumed that the convenience store was just the first step in Keiko's journey to bigger and better things, but she's still in the same spot almost two decades later. The biggest sign of her evolution has become additional evidence of her deficiencies. I absorb the world around me, and that’s changing all the time. Just as all the water that was in my body last time we met has now been replaced with new water, the things that make up me have changed too. Keiko's atypical lifestyle causes discomfort for everyone around her. She's such an anomaly! Her family and friends are always trying to fix her, but she feels perfectly fine the way she is. The only thing that causes her discomfort is everyone else's judgment! She has a stockpile of vague prepared answers to defuse awkward situations, but those answers aren't working anymore as she ages. Keiko values her relationships and doesn't want to be cut off from her social groups, so she decides that it might be easier to just meet their demands. She doesn't even have to lie! She announces a life change and everyone fills in the blanks based on the standard story. Sadly, she realizes she never really belonged at all, even with the people she felt the most comfortable. As she takes a single step into normalcy, even her safe places become places of scrutiny.  Succumbing to one societal demand just leads to more expectations. Keiko notices that having a troubled normal life is more acceptable than having a content abnormal life. “Look, anyone who doesn’t fit in with the village loses any right to privacy. They’ll trample all over you as they please. You either get married and have kids or go hunting and earn money, and anyone who doesn’t contribute to the village in one of these forms is a heretic. And the villagers will come poking their noses into your life as much as they want.” At 176 pages, this darkly quirky novel is a quick read. Japanese convenience stores sound amazing! I never thought I'd want to visit another country and immediately run to a convenience store! The language is plain and some of the concepts were mentioned repetitively, but I adored Keiko. She has a cold, logical attitude, but I felt so warm towards her (despite some of her darker inclinations)! I really liked the relationship between Keiko and her sister and how it evolved throughout the story. This little novel also tapped into some deep rage! Keiko encounters frequent misogyny throughout the story. Keiko's experiences triggered memories of rude comments I received when I was a romantic late bloomer, during a brief stint at Taco Bell, and while I was pursuing an art degree. Even when I got a great design job right out of college, one of my professors responded, "Oh well! We all have to start somewhere!" Those experiences made me feel extra empathetic towards Keiko. The awkward scenes where Keiko is singled out made me cringe! The normal world has no room for exceptions and always quietly eliminates foreign objects. Anyone who is lacking is disposed of. So that’s why I need to be cured. Unless I’m cured, normal people will expurgate me.  Finally I understood why my family had tried so hard to fix me. The convenience store mirrors life; the parts change, but the whole stays the same. Perhaps we're still trapped in old-fashioned social paradigms, even though we tend to see ourselves as more evolved than people from past eras. An innate "manual" is passed on to everyone for centuries: get married, have babies, make more money. Anyone who doesn't meet those standards must be persuaded to take the correct path or be ostracised. Of course, even if you meet those standards, there's always something else to obtain. When it comes to making everyone happy, the goalposts are constantly moving! Keiko also notices there's always someone lower in the hierarchy. People who feel attacked find their own people to lash out at. Everyone, even her equals, is vocal about what's wrong with Keiko and what she needs to do to succeed. Will Keiko be able to drown out all the voices and accept her true calling or will she conform to societal demands? Convenience Store Woman is a strange little book with an interesting protagonist! If you like this book, I think you might also like Nineveh by Henrietta Rose-Innes._______________I received this book for free from Netgalley and Grove Atlantic/Grove Press. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It will be available June 12, 2018.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    4 quirky stars to Convenience Store Woman! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Keiko was always a little different in her parents’ eyes. When she went to college, she got a job at a local convenience store. She tried her best to fit in by copying the other employees there, from their clothing to their mannerisms. Life passes by, and many years later, Keiko is still working at the convenience store. No one around Keiko is comfortable with her choice to stay there, but she is content...until she tries her best to change.The 4 quirky stars to Convenience Store Woman! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Keiko was always a little different in her parents’ eyes. When she went to college, she got a job at a local convenience store. She tried her best to fit in by copying the other employees there, from their clothing to their mannerisms. Life passes by, and many years later, Keiko is still working at the convenience store. No one around Keiko is comfortable with her choice to stay there, but she is content...until she tries her best to change.The messages here about conforming are profound. Poor Keiko goes down the rabbit hole of trying to meet everyone else’s expectations. This is a short book, an easy read, and there’s a character to try to understand who will probably work her way right into your heart! Thank you to my Goodreads friend, Taryn, for the recommendation to read Keiko’s story! Many thanks to Grove Atlantic, the publisher of the most unique and quirky, well-written books, Sayaka Murata, and Netgalley for the copy. Convenience Store Woman will be published on June 12, 2018.
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    The moment I finished reading this story - I immediately wanted to know everything about the author- Sayaka Murata. WHO IS SHE? I was screaming inside about how WONDERFUL she must be. This book is a GEM!!!!! Awe-inspiring writing — irresistible—and weirdly outlandish!My gosh...I had the best laugh when I discovered that ‘our author’ —-one of Japan’s most exciting contemporary writers—[I AGREE,I AGREE] —‘really’ works as a part time employee in a convenience store. Talk about material for inspira The moment I finished reading this story - I immediately wanted to know everything about the author- Sayaka Murata. WHO IS SHE? I was screaming inside about how WONDERFUL she must be. This book is a GEM!!!!! Awe-inspiring writing — irresistible—and weirdly outlandish!My gosh...I had the best laugh when I discovered that ‘our author’ —-one of Japan’s most exciting contemporary writers—[I AGREE,I AGREE] —‘really’ works as a part time employee in a convenience store. Talk about material for inspiration— Sayaka has first hand experience. Cracks me up! I love it! I love Japanese Literature anyway ....and Sayaka’s storytelling is so marvelous- with humor - complexity of conformity- that I just can’t stop smiling about this slim ADORABLE - but ALSO VERY AFFECTING....( with sad undercurrents)...novel. Who WOULDN’T enjoy reading this? I can’t imagine anyone not being consumed by it. What stands out to me about our main character -Keiko (self- acclaimed different )- who has worked in the convenient store for 18 years, watching other university students come and go....and managers come and go....is how deliciously self aware Keiko is. This girl is ‘not’ stupid. I felt that even when Keiko copied the styles of fashion - and language -jargon of others - demonstrating that she ‘could’ blend in—that mostly she was at peace with herself exactly the way she was. There are many ways to look at this story — the illusions about what society calls normal - and our human agreements about what’s considered a successful life or not...etc. I adore Keiko. I hope the author writes more books about her. I’d love to continue to follow Keiko again. I miss her already. Honestly- I can imagine a dozen stories centered around Keiko! The other thing that makes this book so special is ‘THE FEELING/THE AURA’ we ‘experience’. A GEM I tell ya, a precious gem! ......leaving us with much to think about!*HIGHLY RECOMMEND*...it’s a quick treasure of a read! Thank You Grove Atlantic, Netgalley, and Sayaka Murata ( I’m a new fan!!!)
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  • Ms. Smartarse
    January 1, 1970
    Published in English as Convenice Store WomanAnyone who's ever shopped for groceries outside of an hermetically closed space, must have a thing or two to rant about employees. You're in a hurry, having once again stepped out too late, but still need to nip in to buy that little something before getting to work. Yet the shop assistant is taking his/her sweet time chatting about that totally hilarious (you had to be there!) story. Not Keiko Furukura! After 18 years, she's so well attuned to the so Published in English as Convenice Store WomanAnyone who's ever shopped for groceries outside of an hermetically closed space, must have a thing or two to rant about employees. You're in a hurry, having once again stepped out too late, but still need to nip in to buy that little something before getting to work. Yet the shop assistant is taking his/her sweet time chatting about that totally hilarious (you had to be there!) story. Not Keiko Furukura! After 18 years, she's so well attuned to the sounds of the convenience store, that she can react even to the slightest change in her environment. A soft jiggle of small change, means a quick transaction for something like a pack of cigarettes. A nearby competitor going out of business can mean sudden increase in customers, so stocking up on the best selling merchandise is advisable.Our heroine has always struggled to fit into society, never quite attaining the state of "normalcy" dictated by society. Life as a convenience store (aka konbini) employee however, is just perfect for her. With a clear set of rules, our heroine has a full-proof template applicable in any situation. If only the rest of the world would let her be...Aw man, did I get mad at society during the course of this story, given the amount of dislike I felt toward Keiko's 'entourage'. I mean, she is brilliant at her job, just plain perfectly in tune with the kombini's every need, and yet her coworkers (view spoiler)[find her ridiculous because of her personal life (hide spoiler)]. *screams*I got truly involved in the whole action, and started perceiving every slight as if people had been criticizing me. I was totally in tune with Keiko's brand of weirdness earnestly trying to find extenuating circumstances to each and every one of her oddities.Pictured above: Musette preparing to dive into parallel readingI had initially requested the German ARC from Netgalley, but after two weeks of radio silence I figured I wouldn't be getting it, so I jumped at the opportunity to buy the recently published Romanian version... only to get my request approved the very same day. Long story short: I felt pressured to read both versions, so I did. In parallel. It was not one of my brightest ideas... but doable, thanks to the book's short length.Impatience, thy name is indeed: Smartarse.Score: 4.9/5 starsI prefer the German version to the Romanian one, as I the rigid atmosphere of the Japanese society came to life much better, along with Keiko's overly detached view of the world. Alternately, my German's not good enough to grasp all the language subtleties, so any blanks in comprehension were filled in with wishful thinking. Either way, both versions felt well translated.---------------German ARC provided by NetGalleyDE and Aufbau Verlag, in exchange for an honest and fair review.
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  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    Convenience store woman is a simple little story about Keiko Furukura a totally quirky hopelessly inept character but in a totally charming and sweet way. She’s a character that defies societies norms by bucking the traditional role designated for women that require them to have a “proper” or “normal” job, a husband and children by a certain age. I felt a deep sadness for Keiko always being subjected to judgement and how she was always making excuses for her life choices. I felt a real tug on my Convenience store woman is a simple little story about Keiko Furukura a totally quirky hopelessly inept character but in a totally charming and sweet way. She’s a character that defies societies norms by bucking the traditional role designated for women that require them to have a “proper” or “normal” job, a husband and children by a certain age. I felt a deep sadness for Keiko always being subjected to judgement and how she was always making excuses for her life choices. I felt a real tug on my heartstrings. I ended up totally in love with this character. So many times I wanted to wrap Keiko up in cotton wool and protect her from those relentless judgemental eyes. Reading this made me angry, really angry! The fact this was set in Japan also made me love this book just that little bit more as I adore the Japanese culture, and the few books I’ve read from there have always been a delight. What first appears to be a simple story of a simple woman living her simple life really becomes an examination of society’s pressures and the damage it can cause people who don’t fit in to that mould. This book may be small in size but it has a big heart.Thanks to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for my review copy. Pub date 22 June 2018.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5, rounded up (but with MUCH internal turmoil)I don’t know about you, but I never think about convenience stores. (Except, wait, right now I’m thinking about the fact that 7-11s don’t have bathrooms. How is that convenient I want to know.) Convenience stores are all Cheetos and lottery tickets, in and out in a matter of minutes. Hit the road, jack, head on out to your next stop. Well, when you read this book, the convenience store is front and center. The customers hit the road lickety-split, 3.5, rounded up (but with MUCH internal turmoil)I don’t know about you, but I never think about convenience stores. (Except, wait, right now I’m thinking about the fact that 7-11s don’t have bathrooms. How is that convenient I want to know.) Convenience stores are all Cheetos and lottery tickets, in and out in a matter of minutes. Hit the road, jack, head on out to your next stop. Well, when you read this book, the convenience store is front and center. The customers hit the road lickety-split, like they’re supposed to, but one of the workers, Keiko, is almost a shut-in. Basically she’s married to the store, and the relationship has been going on for 18 years. Or you can think of the convenience store as her addiction, her God. This store, oh this store is her everything. She follows the rules and is obsessed with stocking shelves and creating signs to promote the special of the day. When she’s not in the store, she is thinking about it. She carries the store’s sounds around in her head—all the clicks and clacks that most of us never tune into. To her these sounds are like lullabies. And she feels like she is part of the store:“When I think that my body is entirely made up of food from this store, I feel like I’m as much a part of the store as the magazine racks or the coffee machine.”To say the least, Keiko is a weird duck. We get to see a little of her life as a kid, and it confirms that she has been a weirdo forever. It’s a buzz phrase these days, but I’m guessing Keiko is “on the spectrum.” Keiko is robotic and passive, which made it hard for me to feel much for her. She did entertain me—many of the things she does and thinks are pretty funny. And she fascinated me—I definitely wanted to see what she would do next. In terms of a character study, the book gets an A-plus. Well, I’ll change that to a B, because there are two times when Keiko shows a dark side. One is an action and one is a thought, very brief. I just didn’t buy it. For a few minutes, I wondered whether the book was going to turn into a thriller. I don’t get why the writer went there. We know Keiko is weird. It’s not necessary to throw in an odd trait that doesn’t fit with her personality. This book is all about conformity. Keiko wants to conform so much that she imitates people’s mannerisms and speech patterns, which becomes comical. Family and friends want her to act normal, and they won’t drop it. They want her to be married and they want her to have a better job. The pressure is on. The story gets infinitely more interesting when a guy comes into her life. Their relationship is totally bizarro. Keiko and the guy have conversations about conformity, mostly meaning the guy spews his ideas. He’s a little pedantic and the ideas seem sophomoric at times. Also, the ideas are repeated too much. In those cases, the writing seems amateurish.I loved the originality of the plot and the character and liked that it was told in first-person. It was a kick learning so much about Japanese convenience stores (I wonder if they have restrooms?!), and I loved getting the picture of the work scene there. Of course, I just loved getting a peek at Japanese culture in general. As often happens when I read a book from a different land, I wish I could beam myself up—and in this case, land in Tokyo. I would definitely head for a convenience store. Would I be greeted when I entered, like in Keiko’s store?This is a fast, entertaining read by a popular Japanese writer. (A cool fact: The writer worked in a convenience store when she wrote this book!) The language is simplistic, which I sometimes liked but sometimes made me crave sophistication. I was going to say this book is lightweight, but actually it’s not because it drills home how society’s expectations affect your life and shows how people treat those who don’t conform.I’m giving this book 3.5 stars. I’ve been hopping madly back and forth, trying to decide whether to round up or down. Even while writing this review, I’ve changed my mind twice!! For now I’ve settled on rounding up. The book is definitely way more than a meh, and because it’s so original, I don’t think I’ll forget about it. Meanwhile, I can’t believe I’m spending so much time worrying about (and moaning about) a stupid number! I liked the book—just get over it, Debbie!I’m so sorry I didn’t show the contents of the Joy Jar and Complaint Board in easy-to-read lists, like I usually do. It might have made my rating problem easier! But I’d say the Joy Jar ekes out a win. Although the book isn’t a wow, I would recommend it, especially to those who enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
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  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher Grove Atlantic Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.I must admit I would have never targeted this book to read had someone on Goodreads not recommended it. It kind of flies under the radar by its unassuming cover, but is actually quite thought-provoking.This is a story about a young Japanese woman named Keiko who has been working part-time at a 24-hour convenience store since the age of 18. She is now 36. Her parents, friends, and society itself has Thank you to the publisher Grove Atlantic Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.I must admit I would have never targeted this book to read had someone on Goodreads not recommended it. It kind of flies under the radar by its unassuming cover, but is actually quite thought-provoking.This is a story about a young Japanese woman named Keiko who has been working part-time at a 24-hour convenience store since the age of 18. She is now 36. Her parents, friends, and society itself has regarded Keiko as "not normal" due to the fact that she is still a virgin, unmarried and never dated, and for working part-time hours at this convenience store rather than transitioning to a more suitable/ better job. In fact, whenever anyone questions her as to why she's still working at this convenience store job, she uses a helpful retort that her sister came up with: "It's just because I'm not very strong, so I'm better off in a casual job." The family suspects something is wrong with Keiko for some other reasons as well. As a young child in school, Keiko witnessed some unruly children fighting at recess and the teacher called out, "Somebody stop them!" Acting quickly, Keiko retrieved a spade from a nearby shed and bashed one of the surly boys over the head with it. It seems as though Keiko sees things in black and white terms, and when she heard the teacher cry out for help, Keiko acted accordingly. Of course, a parent/teacher meeting was called to address this infraction and seeing her Mom's serious demeanor, Keiko realized she must have done something wrong. However, she still couldn't understand why. Keiko soon realized that the less she said, the better. Another example of Keiko's odd thought pattern was how she related to her sister's baby. Upon visiting the sister one day, she looked upon the baby and thought of it as being sort of an animal. She also thought about her other little nephew, and how it really didn't matter which baby she visited...they were kind of the same animal. Then when the baby cried and her sister made an effort to console her, she thought about what a big hassle it must be to do that. Her eyes then stole over to the little knife on the table that had just been used to serve cake, and thought how easy it would be to use it to shut the baby up. Of course, Keiko knew to keep thoughts such as these to herself.Keiko finds her best self in the tightly controlled environment of the convenience store. It has a manual covering everything the employees must do, and she follows it to the letter involving dress, greeting customers and many other protocols. She follows these to the letter and receives good feedback for doing so. In addition, she draws upon the personalities of those she works with to form her own personality. In this way, she will garner more acceptance in the world. For instance, when she admires another female worker's way of talking and dressing, she copies the speech pattern and purchases clothing from the same fashion stores. Keiko had her own very small apartment, although it had roaches and was old. She would take dented cans of food home from the convenience store, but would be sure to eat other healthy foods like vegetables and rice, plus get enough sleep. She knew she had to follow these rules in order to stay healthy and serve the well-being of the convenience store.Needless to say, this was a very interesting character study. It was told in simple language, translated beautifully from its original Japanese. It was a quick and satisfying read which I would highly recommend.
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  • Claudia
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t know what’s the exact meaning in Japanese, but the "convenience” word used here captured the essence of the book perfectly - such a versatile word with so many meanings.We have an awkward 36 years old woman, who is working at this convenience store for the past 18 years. She never had a boyfriend, nor other job than this. As a child, she was different than the rest, to the point her parents took her to a psychologist. She used to think out of the box, being pragmatic and with a practical I don’t know what’s the exact meaning in Japanese, but the "convenience” word used here captured the essence of the book perfectly - such a versatile word with so many meanings.We have an awkward 36 years old woman, who is working at this convenience store for the past 18 years. She never had a boyfriend, nor other job than this. As a child, she was different than the rest, to the point her parents took her to a psychologist. She used to think out of the box, being pragmatic and with a practical solution for everything, even if most of the times, the solutions were unorthodox, to say the least (these were also the funniest moments of the story for me).But because everybody thought she was different than the rest, she tried all her life to keep appearances and finding this job suited her perfectly at the time, along with different excuses used when people start asking questions about her linear life. When questions became too many, she finds another solution to fit in: a convenience relationship.For such a small book, it has so many layers: it’s about today’s judgmental society, about our working selves - who are taking their tolls on our personal life and free time - and ultimately, about the compromises we make to fit society and have some peace of mind.Despite the fact that I didn’t approve some of the choices she made, I resonated with her completely in the end. Afterall, one’s life is one’s life and we should not care about what others say; everybody should construct their life as they see fit; we live our lives, not other’s and viceversa.And even though is kind of sad on occasion, it also has its moments of black humor; fine irony at today’ society, with its rigid and prejudiced mentality, is present all over the story. The writing is fluent and balanced, easy to follow - a couple of hours reading, worthy all the way.>>> ARC received thanks to Grove Atlantic/Grove Press via NetGalley <<<
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  • Ms. Smartarse
    January 1, 1970
    I have also read the German version of this novel(lette), but here I'm only making some observations on the Romanian translation.For someone described as not being particularly interested in pesky little things like feelings, or even the taste of food, the main character comes off as a bit too passionate in this Romanian translation. As a matter of fact, the entire atmosphere of the book feels a bit too much like the familiar Romanian village mindset, rather than the rigidly strict Japanese one. I have also read the German version of this novel(lette), but here I'm only making some observations on the Romanian translation.For someone described as not being particularly interested in pesky little things like feelings, or even the taste of food, the main character comes off as a bit too passionate in this Romanian translation. As a matter of fact, the entire atmosphere of the book feels a bit too much like the familiar Romanian village mindset, rather than the rigidly strict Japanese one. This can be a good thing, as it allows Romanians to relate to it more easily. But it's also a shame, as other translations allow more of an insight into the workings of the Japanese society.This is about all I could reproach the Romanian version. Honestly, if I had not been lucky enough to get access to the German translation, I probably wouldn't even have noticed this. So I heartily recommend this translation. Plus it's much cheaper than the English version... which is yet to be published (at the time of writing).Left: store-bought Romanian edition Right: German edition obtained through NetGalleyScore: 4.4/5 starsI have just one question: What is Keiko's sister's name?The Romanian translation says it's Mami, while the German one has it listed as Asami. Can anyone with access to the original Japanese version check please?
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  • j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]
    January 1, 1970
    FIVE STARSWhat a strange and quirky little book this is! This is a kind of Japanese version of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I love to read contemporary books set in different cultures and this is one, set in Tokyo, is ideal! Can I just say, American convenience stores have a long way to go to live up to Japanese stores in terms of cleanliness, well-trained and friendly staff, etc etc!!Keiko Furukura is hopelessly out-of-step with societal expectations of women. In a culture that values c FIVE STARSWhat a strange and quirky little book this is! This is a kind of Japanese version of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I love to read contemporary books set in different cultures and this is one, set in Tokyo, is ideal! Can I just say, American convenience stores have a long way to go to live up to Japanese stores in terms of cleanliness, well-trained and friendly staff, etc etc!!Keiko Furukura is hopelessly out-of-step with societal expectations of women. In a culture that values conformist behavior, she struggles until she finds her first job working in the convenience store. After many years of working part time at the store and living alone, she experiments with fitting in to please her family. It doesn't exactly work out, but, she eventually figures out her own way to happiness. I don't want to say more than that since the book is so short! It is really a charming, sweet story of Keiko's pursuit for acceptance. Sayaka Murata is a wonderful writer and wrote this story while she herself was working in a convenience store (and still does!). While I wish the book was longer, it is actually perfect the way it is. Scheduled for US publication in June 2018. Many thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this darling book!
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  • Wendi Lee
    January 1, 1970
    This short novel epitomizes everything I love about Japanese literature. Keiko is strange, unable to completely fit in in a culture where conformity is compulsive. She thinks things that other people do not, and finds the never-ending obsession over careers, marriage, and children incomprehensible. But her life takes a turn for the better when she finds a job at a convenience store. All of a sudden, her life has meaning. The store hums life into her. ...Eighteen years later, still a convenience This short novel epitomizes everything I love about Japanese literature. Keiko is strange, unable to completely fit in in a culture where conformity is compulsive. She thinks things that other people do not, and finds the never-ending obsession over careers, marriage, and children incomprehensible. But her life takes a turn for the better when she finds a job at a convenience store. All of a sudden, her life has meaning. The store hums life into her. ...Eighteen years later, still a convenience store employee, Keiko is pretending to be a woman she’s not. And other people are starting to catch on. Like many Japanese novels I’ve read in the past, this is a quiet book. What makes it fascinating is Keiko and her rationalizations of the choices she’s made, and her attempts to mimic acceptable women around her. I also love learning about Japanese culture, which is another perk of this novel. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.
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  • Booklunatic
    January 1, 1970
    4 Sterne"Wie lästig, warum brauchten die anderen zu ihrer eigenen Beruhigung ständig Erklärungen?"Flüssig zu lesen und bietet dabei durchaus Stoff zum Nachdenken. Thematisch hat es mich an "Die Vegetarierin" erinnert: In beiden Büchern geht es um das "anders sein" und die mangelnde Akzeptanz der Gesellschaft dem gegenüber. Im Gegensatz zu Han Kangs Roman ist "Die Ladenhüterin" aber viel leichter zugänglich und lange nicht so düster.Es ist also eigentlich kein schweres Buch, hat mich aber dennoch 4 Sterne"Wie lästig, warum brauchten die anderen zu ihrer eigenen Beruhigung ständig Erklärungen?"Flüssig zu lesen und bietet dabei durchaus Stoff zum Nachdenken. Thematisch hat es mich an "Die Vegetarierin" erinnert: In beiden Büchern geht es um das "anders sein" und die mangelnde Akzeptanz der Gesellschaft dem gegenüber. Im Gegensatz zu Han Kangs Roman ist "Die Ladenhüterin" aber viel leichter zugänglich und lange nicht so düster.Es ist also eigentlich kein schweres Buch, hat mich aber dennoch durchaus ins Grübeln gebracht. Denn verrückterweise konnte ich mich ein Stück weit mit beiden Seiten in dem Buch identifizieren... Zum Beispiel fühle ich mich als 33jähriger Langzeit-Single auch öfter mal im Rechtfertigungszwang gegenüber Anderen. Ich glaube eigentlich, ähnliche kleinere oder größere Situationen erlebt sogar fast jeder von uns hin und wieder im täglichen Leben. Sobald etwas von "der Norm" abweicht, wird man schräg angeschaut und zum kritischen Gesprächsthema. Gleichzeitig kann ich mich aber wohl auch nicht davon ausnehmen, manchmal ebenso über andere Leute zu urteilen "Der/die ist aber schräg drauf". Warum ist das so, warum sind wir alle so sehr auf "die Norm" konditioniert...?"Normalität setzt sich gewaltsam durch, Fremdkörper werden einfach beseitigt. Menschen, die nicht richtig funktionieren, werden entsorgt."Nach dieser Lektüre werde ich mir auf jeden Fall wieder öfter ins Gedächtnis rufen: Leben und leben lassen!
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  • Bianca
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 *I can't remember the last time I read a Japanese novel. This one was a bit different. The Convenience Store Woman is a character-driven novel. Our protagonist is Keiko Furukura who's a bit different - very likely she's on the Autism spectrum - and is unable to read society's cues, unless somebody spells them out to her clearly. She doesn't have any hobbies; worst of all - she's got no expectations or dreams for herself. She's a thirty six-year-old virgin who's been a convenience store worke 3.5 *I can't remember the last time I read a Japanese novel. This one was a bit different. The Convenience Store Woman is a character-driven novel. Our protagonist is Keiko Furukura who's a bit different - very likely she's on the Autism spectrum - and is unable to read society's cues, unless somebody spells them out to her clearly. She doesn't have any hobbies; worst of all - she's got no expectations or dreams for herself. She's a thirty six-year-old virgin who's been a convenience store worker for eighteen years. She breathes the shop. Her life, her routines revolve around her work schedule. She's very competent, but that's about it. She's like a robot. I found this novel sad, there were no endearing quirks or funny moments. Occasionally, Keiko came up with some smart observations about society, other people's expectations, people's inability to fully embrace those outside the norm.While I can't say I was bored reading this, after all, it's quite short, I'm afraid I wasn't that charmed by it either. I thought the novel's tone was kind of flat, which in a way worked to show us Keiko's automaton, routine-filled life.I've received this novel via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lewerentz
    January 1, 1970
    Gros coup de cœur ! Je viens de tourner la dernière page, alors je n'arrive pas encore à rassembler mes esprits. Un court roman qui parle des "inadaptés", des personnes différentes qui ne rentrent pas dans le moule formaté que la société aimerait nous voir suivre : un boulot stable, mariage, enfants, vie sociale intense, vie sexuelle épanouie, etc.Je me suis sentie proche de l'héroïne sur plusieurs points - peut-être une des raisons de mon plaisir de lecture (?).Vivement recommandé ! 💝
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  • Jocelyn
    January 1, 1970
    What a delightfully absurd book.Keiko's a bit of an outsider just trying her best to fit into the world around her. She's content with the rather mundane life she lives. The convenience store isn't just her place of employment, it's the only place she feels like she belongs and everything finally makes sense. She parrots and imitates everyone she meets - mostly to keep them off her back - but working at the same convenience store for 18 years is starting to make some eyebrows lift. Something nee What a delightfully absurd book.Keiko's a bit of an outsider just trying her best to fit into the world around her. She's content with the rather mundane life she lives. The convenience store isn't just her place of employment, it's the only place she feels like she belongs and everything finally makes sense. She parrots and imitates everyone she meets - mostly to keep them off her back - but working at the same convenience store for 18 years is starting to make some eyebrows lift. Something needs to change. This basic premise keeps the book flowing in such a compulsive way. I've seen a few uses of the word "quirky" in other reviews and they're not wrong. Keiko's narration is so deadpan and off-kilter that there are several points that honestly made me laugh out loud. The whole thing reads quite cinematically as well, in a very slice-of-life indie movie kind of way. Convenience Store Woman is easy, it's strange, and it's just a lot of fun to breeze through.
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    Keiko has always seen the world in her own way, she has never quite fit in with everyone around her. And for most of her life she's been able to make excuses to friends and family about why she's been doing the same thing for her entire adult life. But as she reaches her late 30's, it's getting harder to put everyone off and Keiko doesn't know how to appease everyone. This short, lovely novel is the story of who Keiko is and its entire plot is whether she can grow into someone new.If you haven't Keiko has always seen the world in her own way, she has never quite fit in with everyone around her. And for most of her life she's been able to make excuses to friends and family about why she's been doing the same thing for her entire adult life. But as she reaches her late 30's, it's getting harder to put everyone off and Keiko doesn't know how to appease everyone. This short, lovely novel is the story of who Keiko is and its entire plot is whether she can grow into someone new.If you haven't read much Japanese fiction (so much of what gets translated is genre fiction--thrillers and horror mostly) this is an excellent book to start with that captures the rhythm of much Japanese writing and the strict societal expectations so much Japanese fiction takes as its chief concern, especially for women. Keiko is the kind of protagonist it can be hard to connect with. She has a simple, straightforward view of the world. She is confused by subtlety from others but can dive deeply into complexity when her own work is on her mind. She likes the organized life she has created for herself. (I suspect some will say she's neurodiverse in her lack of empathy, but it seems to me that the book's central argument is that she is not.) But as we get to know her and see the people in her life question her, we become stubbornly on her side, more and more bewitched by her clear outlook. There is a surprisingly suspenseful final act plot development that mucks up the book's structure, pacing, and most other things, which is certainly its intention. The reader becomes putty in Murata's hands, no matter how invested you were before you are heavily invested now and you long desperately for a particular outcome. This could be an excellent book club pick, especially for clubs looking to read diversely, read books by women, or read books with a feminist slant.
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  • Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a weird story - for some reason, I really enjoy random, apropos of nothing, odd Japanese stories, and this is one of them.Keiko Furukura is an odd woman, who is very well aware that her reactions to the things around her are odd, so she does her best to imitate others and blend in. When others are upset, she feigns anger; when others are happy, she puts on a smile. When she was in her first year of college, she got a part-time job in a convenience store, where she was taught how to This was such a weird story - for some reason, I really enjoy random, apropos of nothing, odd Japanese stories, and this is one of them.Keiko Furukura is an odd woman, who is very well aware that her reactions to the things around her are odd, so she does her best to imitate others and blend in. When others are upset, she feigns anger; when others are happy, she puts on a smile. When she was in her first year of college, she got a part-time job in a convenience store, where she was taught how to behave, how to smile, how to greet people and how to react, and for the first time, she could blend in. She blended in for 18 years, keeping her part-time job there and having no desire to change it in any way. She has become so attuned to store, that she knows her clients' needs nearly before they do, she can appreciate spikes in the sales of a product or another, she knows how to arrange everything to make the important items stand out and she truly lives and breathes the identity of a convenience store person. There isn't much going on in this book - other than her trying to do what she does best while society is trying to make her more human, to change her, to transform her into something that fits in better. The front cover tells me that it's supposed to be funny, but I found it good-eerie rather than amusing.
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  • Vderevlean
    January 1, 1970
    O poveste despre o femeie căreia îi este imposibil să se adapteze societății contemporane, mai ales celei japoneze. Ajunsă la 36 de ani, fără să fi trăit vreo relație de dragoste, lucrând cu jumătate de normă de mai bine de 18 ani într-un minimarket cu orar nonstop. Astfel, viața ei începe să coincidă cu orarul magazinului și cu rutina zilnică a angajaților. Lupta cu anturajul care o judecă permanent, incapacitatea de a relaționa sentimental cu ceilalți, mici scene ironice despre o societate obs O poveste despre o femeie căreia îi este imposibil să se adapteze societății contemporane, mai ales celei japoneze. Ajunsă la 36 de ani, fără să fi trăit vreo relație de dragoste, lucrând cu jumătate de normă de mai bine de 18 ani într-un minimarket cu orar nonstop. Astfel, viața ei începe să coincidă cu orarul magazinului și cu rutina zilnică a angajaților. Lupta cu anturajul care o judecă permanent, incapacitatea de a relaționa sentimental cu ceilalți, mici scene ironice despre o societate obsedată de etichete, protocol și politețe excesivă, multe, multe teme bine suprinse în acest roman. Interesant, pe alocuri atractiv. Însă nu suficient.
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  • Kathrin Schröder
    January 1, 1970
    Die Ladenhüterin, Sayaka Murata Erscheinungstermin 17.03.2018Gelesen dank Netgalley als ebook (Kindle) im April 2018Genre: BelletristikDie Einordnung multikulturelle Gesellschaft an diesem Buch ist zunächst erstmal völlig falsch. Das Buch handelt in Japan und hat in sich erst einmal keinerlei multikulturelle Ansätze. Insofern habe ich durch dieses Etikett das Buch schon einmal mit einem falschen Ansatz gewünscht. Da mich aber Bücher unter anderem über Japan oft faszinieren, ist der Fehler nicht Die Ladenhüterin, Sayaka Murata Erscheinungstermin 17.03.2018Gelesen dank Netgalley als ebook (Kindle) im April 2018Genre: BelletristikDie Einordnung multikulturelle Gesellschaft an diesem Buch ist zunächst erstmal völlig falsch. Das Buch handelt in Japan und hat in sich erst einmal keinerlei multikulturelle Ansätze. Insofern habe ich durch dieses Etikett das Buch schon einmal mit einem falschen Ansatz gewünscht. Da mich aber Bücher unter anderem über Japan oft faszinieren, ist der Fehler nicht so schlimm.Das Buch, vom Umfang eher eine etwas längere Kurgeschichte, erzählt das Leben von Keiko.Keiko hat das Leben nie verstanden und immer angeeckt, bis sie mit 18 Jahren als Ladenaushilfe in einem Konbichi anfing zu arbeiten. Hier ist alles geregelt, es gibt keine Überraschungen und die strengen Regeln formen Keikos Leben. Ihre Kontakte außerhalb der Arbeit, Familie und Freunde drängen aber jetzt mit 36 darauf, den Platz im Leben zu finden. Aushilfe ohne Mann geht nicht, entweder heiraten oder ein richtiger Beruf. Der neue Kollege bringt die Arbeit durcheinander hinterfragt alles und landet trotzdem in ihrer Wohnung als Mitbewohner und Alibi gegenüber der Umwelt. Dass das Buch in Japan ein Erfolg wurde, ist nachvollziehbar, aber außerhalb der japanischen Kultur bleibt Keiko, der Laden und ihr Umfeld sehr fremd. Einordnen was regelkonform und was eine Zumutung ist, können wir nicht. Keiko findet ihren Weg, ein Urteil darüber steht uns Fremden nicht zu.Der Schreibstil ist gut lesbar und das Buch ist eine Unterhaltung für zwischendurch, wenn man nicht in der japanischen Kultur so vernetzt ist, dass man in dem Buch tiefer gehen kann.#Netgalley #Die Ladenhüterin
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really great story about a 36 year-old woman who's still single and working part time at a convenience store (konbini). If you know anything about Japan you'd probably guess that that does not earn her the most prestige and many friends and family members constantly express their concern to her. She herself doesn't seem to care, however, and really just continues to defy all expectations.I really, really enjoyed this story! It was written in a simple enough style for me to be able to This was a really great story about a 36 year-old woman who's still single and working part time at a convenience store (konbini). If you know anything about Japan you'd probably guess that that does not earn her the most prestige and many friends and family members constantly express their concern to her. She herself doesn't seem to care, however, and really just continues to defy all expectations.I really, really enjoyed this story! It was written in a simple enough style for me to be able to follow along with the plot without having to constantly check kanji or vocabulary I didn't know. It also made me feel quite nostalgic, because konbinis are such a Japanese thing and reading about the everyday life there really made me miss my time in Japan!I also really appreciate how this book specifically chose a person as a main character who does not fit into the box that is considered ideal to most Japanese (married with children and/or a successful career). The MC expresses how she has always felt that she was different from the others and that her environment never really knew how to deal with her. She once recounts how she even went to get counselling as a child, but how the counselor also wasn't really able to help her in any way.I think books like this are important especially in a society like Japan's, because they specifically draw attention to the marginalized groups and give them a voice and acknowledge their existence.While I did have some issues with certain plot points towards the end of the novel, I had a great time reading this and would recommend it to anyone learning Japanese around the N2 level!
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  • Good Books Good Friends
    January 1, 1970
    Une belle réflexion sur ce que la société exige de nous et à quel point elle aime ranger les gens dans des cases. Mais que faire quand aucune case ne nous correspond ? J'ai également aimé l'écriture et le rythme du roman.
  • Mya
    January 1, 1970
    Delightfully weird and oddly disturbing. This book makes a really interesting argument about what it means to fit in by exploring the life of someone who decidedly doesn't conform to societal and cultural norms. I'll be honest, I kept waiting for more to happen, but Murata--through the translation of Takemori--kept the story just on the edge of uncomfortable. It was an intriguing choice, and I think it works in interesting ways to make the book's point, but I finished the book feeling like there Delightfully weird and oddly disturbing. This book makes a really interesting argument about what it means to fit in by exploring the life of someone who decidedly doesn't conform to societal and cultural norms. I'll be honest, I kept waiting for more to happen, but Murata--through the translation of Takemori--kept the story just on the edge of uncomfortable. It was an intriguing choice, and I think it works in interesting ways to make the book's point, but I finished the book feeling like there was an itch that hadn't been fully scratched.
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  • Basma
    January 1, 1970
    Such a peculiar character and story, I loved it so much. It's weird and strange but there's something very raw about her character that kept pulling me in. Furukura lives life as she knows how to. She's thirty six, works in a convenience store and lives a quiet life. She doesn't care about how life for a women "should" progress in her society, nor does she care that people are sometimes uncomfortable around her. All she seems to care about is people not prying into her personal life and the bein Such a peculiar character and story, I loved it so much. It's weird and strange but there's something very raw about her character that kept pulling me in. Furukura lives life as she knows how to. She's thirty six, works in a convenience store and lives a quiet life. She doesn't care about how life for a women "should" progress in her society, nor does she care that people are sometimes uncomfortable around her. All she seems to care about is people not prying into her personal life and the being a convenience store worker which she hold with such pride. No one around her thinks what she's doing in normal and no one likes that she's not living her life just like everyone else. The societal and family pressure she keeps receiving ever since she was a child doesn't seem to faze her one bit. She doesn't find herself odd nor does she find anyone around her odd as well. I guess she just seems to like it when everyone is doing their thing. As the story progresses Furukura's peculiar character keeps appearing more and more and by the end of the book and having new characters introduced conversations start to become very strange but you can't help but wonder why does everyone thinks they're normal and she isn't? Who decided what normal is? Who decided there is a process in "progressing in life" that we must go through? How come when someone reaches a certain age and they're not "progressing in life" the same way society wants them to that no one finds it odd or wrong to pry into their personal lives? This book brings up so much questions especially in trying to understand people who are different than you.(I received a free e-book copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)
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  • Zsofi
    January 1, 1970
    Keiko Furukura was always different. From early childhood, everybody wanted to fix her, unsuccessfully. When she finds a job in the predictable world of a convenience store, everyone is happy. However; years and years later, they still try to fix her...The story itself is not fast, but it is easy to read. It is told from the main character’s POV, so we get to understand the logic behind her “weirdness”. Actually, it was sad to see Keiko’s struggle to make everyone happy. I’m glad the author chos Keiko Furukura was always different. From early childhood, everybody wanted to fix her, unsuccessfully. When she finds a job in the predictable world of a convenience store, everyone is happy. However; years and years later, they still try to fix her...The story itself is not fast, but it is easy to read. It is told from the main character’s POV, so we get to understand the logic behind her “weirdness”. Actually, it was sad to see Keiko’s struggle to make everyone happy. I’m glad the author chose to write about someone who doesn’t fit into modern Japan’s society. I find it very important for all of us to at least try to accept others as they are, however weird they might seem for us.In summary, I enjoyed being transported to the world of a Japanese convenience store. Fun fact: the author herself is a part time convenience store worker!Many thanks to Edelweiss and Grove Press for providing me with an ARC.
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  • OutlawPoet
    January 1, 1970
    Keiko Furukura is an unusual character.Really, she's almost sociopathic at times. She truly has no idea how to behave as a social human being. She only knows that she makes people supremely uncomfortable. She's not completely cold - she doesn't want others to be uncomfortable and she wants to blend in, so she becomes a mimic.She mimics the way people dress, laugh, and talk - all in an effort to disguise herself as being just like everyone else. However, she laughs a little too hard. Her demonstr Keiko Furukura is an unusual character.Really, she's almost sociopathic at times. She truly has no idea how to behave as a social human being. She only knows that she makes people supremely uncomfortable. She's not completely cold - she doesn't want others to be uncomfortable and she wants to blend in, so she becomes a mimic.She mimics the way people dress, laugh, and talk - all in an effort to disguise herself as being just like everyone else. However, she laughs a little too hard. Her demonstration of anger she doesn't really feel (but thinks it may suit an occasion) is over the top and exaggerated. Her most successful mask? That of the convenience store woman.In the confines of the store, Furukura is the perfect mimic. Her voice is at the right tone. Her smile just right. Her nails, her purse, everything is simply perfect.And she's content.But Furukura realizes that people still find her odd because at her age, she is supposed to have a man. So just like she arranges her clothes, voice, and hair into a perfect mimicry, she arranges this...and it isn't at all what she thinks it will be like.In this odd little book, author Sayaka Murata looks at the roles played by both women and men in modern Japanese society...and forces us to look at the roles we play in our everyday lives. Are you the perfect office worker? The perfect parent? And how much of it is real and how much just our own form of mimicry.The book is both ephemeral and horrifying. Expect that some moments will be shocking and others strictly bizarre, but it's a wonderful read.*ARC Provided via Net Galley
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  • Wandaviolett
    January 1, 1970
    Über das Außenseitertum.Ein gewisses Maß an Individualität wird in unseren Breiten durchaus honoriert. Nicht so in Japan. Wo der Einzelne sich dem Gesamten unterordnen soll. Und eigentlich kein Platz ist für Außenseiter. Sie sind einfach nicht vorgesehen.Das merkt auch Keiko Furukura, die an einem angeborenen Empathiemangel leidet. Das heißt, es ist nicht sie, die leidet, sondern ihre Umwelt. Deren Reaktionen wiederum auf Furukuras strikt auf Rationalität ausgerichtetes Denken und Handeln läßt d Über das Außenseitertum.Ein gewisses Maß an Individualität wird in unseren Breiten durchaus honoriert. Nicht so in Japan. Wo der Einzelne sich dem Gesamten unterordnen soll. Und eigentlich kein Platz ist für Außenseiter. Sie sind einfach nicht vorgesehen.Das merkt auch Keiko Furukura, die an einem angeborenen Empathiemangel leidet. Das heißt, es ist nicht sie, die leidet, sondern ihre Umwelt. Deren Reaktionen wiederum auf Furukuras strikt auf Rationalität ausgerichtetes Denken und Handeln läßt die Protagonistin auf einen Ausweg sinnen. Sie will nicht länger anecken und auffallen.Der auf dem Hintergrund des in Japan vorherrschenden Menschenbildes durchaus als innovativ-gesellschaftskritisch geltende Roman wäre trivial, weil er nur das Geschehen in einem Supermarkt beschreibt, wenn er in all seiner Knappheit nicht so witzig wäre und einem unwillkürlich unter die Haut ginge.Das Bild der emsig im Konbini werkelnden Keiko ist eine Parabel für das Aussenseitertum. Zwei Arten, damit umzugehen, werden beschrieben: eine als typische weiblich geltende und eine typisch männliche Art, die im Roman jedoch vertauscht werden entgegen den üblichen Gepflogenheiten, mit anderen Worten die weibliche Figur nimmt den gesellschaftlich männlichen Part ein und die männliche Figur den (normalerweise) weiblichen.Man hätte die Parabel jedoch auch verstanden, wenn sich die beiden Akteure nicht auch noch explitzit über das Aussenseiterdasein unterhalten hätten. Das ist so, als ob man die Thematik mit der Schaufel eingebläut bekäme. Trotzdem ist die Idee des Romans hinreißend, dazu ist er kurz und bündig.Was den Schluss angeht, kann man geteilter Meinung sein. Er kam für mich zu abrupt und ich hätte mir ein angedeutetes, versöhnlicheres Ende gewünscht. Auf der anderen Seite kann man dem Roman durchaus keine Süßlichkeit vorwerfen! Was ein Wert per se darstellt.Fazit: Witzige Gesellschaftskritik Japans, die durchaus auch zu uns spricht.Kategorie: Gute Unterhaltung. Gesellschaftskritik.Aufbauverlag, 2018
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  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    With Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata delivers insightful commentary on how individuals connect with both their roles as workers and members of their given society.
  • Marissa
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.What a weird little gem of a book. Convenience Store Woman is a quick read and look into the mind of a woman facing the challenges of the Japanese workforce and societal expectations. Having happily worked at a convenience store for 18 years, Keiko is almost robotic in her daily routine and content with her seemingly dead-end life. Her observations and comments from her peers made me both laugh and Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.What a weird little gem of a book. Convenience Store Woman is a quick read and look into the mind of a woman facing the challenges of the Japanese workforce and societal expectations. Having happily worked at a convenience store for 18 years, Keiko is almost robotic in her daily routine and content with her seemingly dead-end life. Her observations and comments from her peers made me both laugh and cringe, as the novel questions the roles of career and conforming in constructing an 'ideal' life for oneself. Keiko literally lives and breathes for her job at the convenience store, and it is up to the reader to decide if this is a tragic lifestyle or Keiko's way of challenging the norm. Anyone who has even briefly worked retail will relate to this book, an almost Kafkaesque peek into Japanese life.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Loved everything about this. The writing flowed naturally and Furukura was such an interesting character. Over time her realizations were quite alarming, as were those little peeks into the depths of her mind (like how to silence her crying infant nephew). This book says a lot about how society expects everyone to be and how everyone should not be pigeonholed into certain molds of people.
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    Review up soon...
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