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Convenience Store Woman

Narrated by: Nancy Wu
Length: 3 hrs and 21 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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Summary

Meet Keiko. Keiko is 36 years old. She's never had a boyfriend, and she's been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years. Keiko's family wishes she'd get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won't get married. But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she's not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store.

©2020 Sayaka Murata (P)2019 Sayaka Murata

Critic reviews

Witty, wily, and astonishingly sharp.

-- Lisa McInerney, author of "The Glorious Heresies"

An exhilaratingly weird and funny Japanese novel. Unsettling and totally unpredictable.

-- Sally Rooney

A haunting, dark, and often hilarious take on society's expectations of the single woman.

-- Elif Batuman, author of "The Idiot"

[A] short, deadpan gem... This is a true original.

-- Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail 

A sure-fire hit of the summer... quirky [and] profound.

-- Irish Times 

What listeners say about Convenience Store Woman

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It Is The Convenience Store!

Keiko is 36 years old. She seems immature when compared to a Western woman. She's not had a boyfriend, and she's been working in the same supermarket for half of her life. Her friends and family have expectations of how she should live her life. She is expected to have a good husband and/or job. She finally enters in to a relationship of convenience with the most unlikely man. Humour lies quietly beneath the story.

1 person found this helpful

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Engaging story that pulls you along

I really enjoyed this work. It was an unusual story, but that was why I had picked it after reading the synopsis and I wasn't disappointed. The viewpoint of the protagonist was delivered in such a matter of fact way by the narrator that it made the impact of the protagonists early life even more impactful. I will seek this author out again.

1 person found this helpful

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Very short but fascinating read

I did really like the book, it's well performed and a quite sad but funny story. Vibes of "Flowers for Algernon". It is a tough sell at one credit for a book that's just over 3 hours long though but it's a must if you are interested in Japanese culture.

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delicious

this short book was ear tinglingly wonderful. 3 trips to work in lockdown and it was done. I was sad that it left but I know it has gone to work in the conveniance store where it will be happy. I wish I had not heard it so I could listen to it again

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Such an unusual novel - totally absorbing!

I felt slightly bereft when this ended - it is quite a short novel and it didn’t end as I might have expected. Beautifully read. It is written from a totally different perspective on life. Some have described this book as funny, I don’t agree but it is totally absorbing and certainly not sad as there’s a total absence of self pity in the main character. Every word counts. The book is worth reading for the description of the feelings/states that the collective sounds of the convenience store generate in the convenience store woman alone. Totally loved it. There’s potential for a sequel.

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Worth a listen...

Its a short quick listen which helps. It got quite repetitive and I'm not sure if the translation to English was the cause of this. All in all a good book that questions, what is normal? I needed more for Keiko but maybe the notion of more is merely a societal way of conforming.

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Social expectations vs happiness

Keiko is a bit different. She doesn't understand feelings and social norms like others do. But despite this, she has found her spot in the world: a convenience store, with clear and easy to understand rules. Every day she is successful at serving customers, and she observes her coworkers to figure out how to wear the right clothes and say the right things. She is happy. Yet people keep pointing out that she should get a PROPER job, and definitely get married like normal people do. Should she abandon what she loves in life because everyone else says so? A quick read, both funny and sad, about having to live up to social expectations that are at odds with what you want and who you are.

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Thankfully it is short

This sounded quirky and I thought it might be charming, or funny, or creepy - but sadly it is none of these things. The story is basically non-existent and it manages to be incredibly repetitive and tedious despite being such a short book. When it ended rather abruptly I was left with a mixture of relief that it was over, and bewilderment that there really was nothing more to it. Best avoided.

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Psychological Challenge

I really enjoyed this very well written book. The story is clear and concise but challenging because I felt I wanted Keiko to follow the normals of society and find a soul mate. Why? was the question I kept asking myself. I consider myself to be fairly liberal but why did I want this woman to find a partner? It was constructive and yet totally hilarious story about how an autistic woman meets the challenges of life, and is totally successful despite the very restrictive social structure around her. Loved it.

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Great short listen

Great short listen! Wanted more when it was over. Will keep an eye out for other books from the author.

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  • HolySmoke
  • 10-08-20

Boring AND depressing: a fateful combo

Where are these good reviews coming from? I see adjectives such as "hilarious," "witty," and "charming," and I can't help but think that something was (literally) lost in translation. I went after "Convenience Store Woman" after seeing it recommended on a list of books for people who loved "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," which I adored. CSW not only lacks the lovable characters, unique perspectives, and gripping storyline of EOICF, but it lacks a basic plot. CSW follows Keiko, a 36 year old woman living in Japan who has struggled with passing as "normal" her whole life. She cares about no one and nothing but being valuable to society as a "cog" in a smoothly working convenience store... and that's it. The story goes nowhere. Random characters ranging from dislikable and uninteresting to utterly detestable come and go. Keiko ponders slitting her baby nephew's throat when he cries. Convenience store displays are described again and again. Keiko calmly recalls knocking out a classmate in childhood and having no emotional response to his pain. A disgusting sexist character obsesses repeatedly about society never developing past "the stone age." Keiko calculates what percentage of her body is made up of convenience store products. The reader repeatedly gets their hopes up that THIS chapter will be the one in which Keiko has a character arc, and is repeatedly let down. The reader's mood descends slowly at first, then faster, as they are presented with a bleak and hopeless view of society and those who are caught up in it. Then the book ends. Proceed at your own risk.