Convenience Store Woman

By Sayaka Murata
Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Read by Nancy Wu

3.37 Hours 06/12/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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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 a job in a convenience store while at the university, they are delighted. For her part, she finds a predictable world in the convenience store, 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 thirty-six, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only a few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations, 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 a 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.

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Summary

Summary

One of the New Yorker’s Best Books of 2018

A Time Magazine Pick of 2018's Must-Read Books

A Vogue Pick of Best Summer Books

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice of the Week

An Elle Magazine Pick of Best Books for Summer

An NPR Pick of Novels That Celebrate Unconventional Women

An Amazon Best Book of the Month

A BookRiot Pick of Summer Books by Women in Translation

A Literary Hub Pick for June

A BuzzFeed Books Pick for Your Reading List

An April Magazine Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018

An Electric Literature Pick of Most Anticipated Upcoming Books

An Indie Next List selection

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 a job in a convenience store while at the university, they are delighted. For her part, she finds a predictable world in the convenience store, 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 thirty-six, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only a few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations, 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 a 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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Quirky Keiko Furukura comes to awkward life in Nancy Wu’s hilarious narration…an energetic delivery that keeps listeners engaged from the first chapter…Wu has us laughing out loud, especially at Keiko’s unexpected forays into love. This is a rollicking story…paired with a narrator who can maximize the characters’ discomfort for our humor.” AudioFile
“Narrator Nancy Wu gives Keiko a doll-like voice, a funny mix of mechanical and childishness that aptly captures the character’s otherness.” Chicago Tribune (audio review)
“A weird and wonderful and deeply satisfying book.” Jami Attenberg, New York Times bestselling author
"Brilliant, witty, and sweet…[Keiko’s] story of conforming for convenience (literally) is one that women all over the world know all too well…but Murata’s sparkly writing and knack for odd, beautiful details are totally her own.” Vogue
“Written in plain-spoken prose, the slim volume focuses on a character who in many ways personifies a demographic panic in Japan.” New York Times
“[Keiko] is an anti-Bartleby, abandoning any shred of identity outside of her work…It may make readers anxious, but the book itself is tranquil—dreamy, even—rooting for its employee-store romance from the bottom of its synthetic heart.” New Yorker
“[In this] small, elegant, and deadpan novel from Japan, a woman senses that society finds her strange, so she culls herself from the herd before anyone else can do it…Convenience Store Woman has touched a chord in Japan, where it has sold close to 600,000 copies…[An] offbeat exploration of what we must each leave behind to participate in the world.” New York Times Book Review
“Murata herself spent years as a convenience store employee. And one pleasure of this book is her detailed portrait of how such a place actually works. Yet the book’s true brilliance lies in Murata’s way of subverting our expectations.” NPR
“A hilarious novel…Convenience Store Woman mocks the culture of work, the employee’s devotion to their patron saint, and pokes fun at the conservative mindset. For what is a young woman worth if she has neither professional ambition nor a desire to get married?” Marie-France (France)
“A love story pulled out of the deep-freeze shelves of the heart…True love is the simple and beautiful moral of this unusual yet uplifting story.” Die Zeit (Germany)
“A spare, quietly brilliant novel…Though she feels like the odd one out, it’s her frank appraisal of the systems of the world that reveals the absurdity of everyone else.” BuzzFeed
“Magical…Sayaka Murata has written the 7-11 Madame Bovary….This is a love story. Only the love affair here is between a woman and the convenience store in which she works.” Literary Hub
“Murata’s brilliant Convenience Store Woman…has been seen as a Gothic romance between a ‘misfit and a store’ and as…an artful grotesque of modern personal branding.” Millions
“A hilariously deadpan, absurdist send-up of rigorous social norms in aging, postwar Japan…Keiko’s fidelity to her role as a cog in the machine is put to the test and the result is as quietly unsettling as any one of Kafka’s short stories.” BuzzFeed
“Stunning…This is a moving, funny, and unsettling story about how to be a ‘functioning adult’ in today’s world.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A dazzling English-language debut in a crisp translation by Takemori, rich in scathingly entertaining observations on identity, perspective, and the suffocating hypocrisy of ‘normal’ society.” Booklist (starred review)
“While Murata’s novel focuses on life in Japanese culture, her storytelling will resonate with all people and experiences.” Library Journal
“Murata skillfully navigates the line between the book’s wry and weighty concerns and ensures readers will never conceive of the ‘pristine aquarium’ of a convenience store in quite the same way. A unique and unexpectedly revealing English language debut.” Kirkus Reviews
“Quirky, deadpan, poignant, and quietly profound, it is a gift to anyone who has ever felt at odds with the world.” Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
“A haunting, dark, and often hilarious take on society’s expectations of the single woman. As an extra bonus, it totally transformed my experience of going to convenience stores in Tokyo.” Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot
“I was really amazed by Convenience Store Woman and the particular reality it exquisitely portrays.” Ryu Murakami, author of Almost Transparent Blue

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Sayaka Murata

Sayaka Murata is one of Japan’s most exciting contemporary writers. She herself still works part time in a convenience store, which was the inspiration to write Convenience Store Woman, her English-language debut and winner of one of Japan’s most prestigious literary prizes, the Akutagawa Prize. Her work has appeared in Freeman’s, Granta, and elsewhere.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 3.37
Audience: Adult
Language: English