Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman

Book - 2018
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A Japanese woman who has been working at a convenience store for 18 years, much to the disappointment of her family, finds friendship with an alienated, cynical and bitter young man who becomes her coworker.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 2018.
Edition: First American hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9780802128256
0802128254
Branch Call Number: F MURATA
Characteristics: 163 pages ; 19 cm
Additional Contributors: Takemori, Ginny Tapley - Translator

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A Japanese woman who has been working at a convenience store for 18 years, much to the disappointment of her family, finds friendship with an alienated, cynical and bitter young man who becomes her coworker.


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wcbind421
May 10, 2021

As a child Keiko Furukura is a misfit; she doesn't react the way others do; she cannot understand why her actions upset others. She has no friends and may be a high-functioning autistic child. While in university, she gets a part-time job as a conveniences store worker at a train station. Keiko gets job training, a uniform and is drilled by management in what to say and how to behave toward customers. To seem normal to the other employees, she mimics their mannerisms, speech and dress. For the first time she feels she fits in. She understands the store and its needs as if it were a living being. She lives her life to fulfill those needs. She's content and, 18 years later, she's still in the same entry-level job.

Then a new employee, Shihara, arrives upsetting the apple cart. He's also a misfit, disliked by the others. Eventually he's fired for inappropriate conduct towards female customers but Keiko, now aged 38 and in need of a "beard", proposes an arrangement and takes him home. He sponges off her. He persuades Keiko to quit and seek a higher paying job so she can support him in a way that doesn't appear odd to others. She does quit but doesn't find work. She becomes unmoored, without purpose until she walks into another convenience store and instantly feels in communion with it. She realizes she must fulfill her purpose in life: a convenience store worker.

r
ranXerox
Mar 11, 2021

Delightfully weird, a little morbid and brutally frank. I like honest women.
The protagonist is honest.

r
redtayres
Feb 21, 2021

As one cover blurb well describes the book, "irresistibly quirky". This slim novella was translated from Japanese into English and whoever did it was masterful. The words perfectly capture the tone and weight of both the main character and her surroundings. And about that main character? Well, read the other comments (or better yet, the book!). All I can add is that she seems a nice, sweet person who I think I'd enjoy knowing in real life. Convenience Store Woman is a very satisfying, strangely and thoroughly engaging contemporary story.

Tigard_AnnmarieA Feb 10, 2021

This was a very good and quirky read, funny and satirical, a short novel by Japanese author Murata that looks at what fitting into Japanese society - or really any society - is like, and what it costs the participant. Highly recommended.

Hillsboro_JeanineM Jan 28, 2021

Keiko Furukura, the protagonist, has been described as idiosyncratic and an oddball. She conforms to expectations and societal norms by mimicking speech and behavior but does not understand it. She is happy being a cog in the machine of the Convenience Store. The structure suits her but friends and family frown on her unmarried life and her long career as a part-time worker. To please others, she decides to try to make the leap to a partnered status and a "real" job.

r
rclane
Jan 18, 2021

Quick and easy, like convenience store food.

JCLFlanneryC Nov 23, 2020

I loved this book! 36 year old Keiko Furukura lives alone and works at a convenience store. She's content but, under enormous social pressure, caves and invites a miserable leech into her life as a boarder and pretend boyfriend, much to the delight of her friends and family. This book is better than "quirky" and it's nothing like Amelie (?), I think it's a good and critical examination of our obsessions with career and family as measurements of a life well lived. Especially for millennials pressured into college educations, saddled by debt, stressed about the future and denied the same securities that allowed their parents' generation to build wealth, there's at least a kernel of truth to Keiko's "wacky" way of life. :)

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.

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hihijenny
Sep 23, 2019

hihijenny thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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