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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
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating book

This is a fascinating book. It's never explicitly stated that Keiko, the protagonist, is neurodivergent, but the story follows her attempts to act 'normal' and her family's worries that she'll never be 'cured'. She's judged for not having a 'proper job', for 'only' being a convenience store worker, for being 'weird', for being single. It's a really interesting exploration of society's obsession with conformity and status.

1 person found this helpful

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captivating and unusual!

I enjoyed the references to calm Japanese convenience stores in this book! The main character stands out as well written and researched. Some parts are hard to read, listening to the verbal abuse the character is subjected to. very raw and real! A really clever critical view of Japanese societal expectations.

1 person found this helpful

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    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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such a wonderful story

the narrator was incredible at bringing to life the simple brilliance of the text. a fantastic audio read.

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I don't get it, sorry.

Maybe women's brains are built to enjoy books like this and men are hunter gatherers but I've clearly missed something. Not the first time and wont be the last. Narrator was great.

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  • Sk
  • 16-02-21

could have been more to it

shame it was so short. would have like the story to unfold more. does highlight the restrictive culture of Japan.

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Self-actualisation via instant noodles

and other handy snacks. Really liked this tale of a person who does not conform to societal expectations but comes to understand what she is and what she needs and has no need to apologise. It's short but sweet.

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Irasshaimase!

A story about a person who found somewhere that makes sense to them amidst life's confusion.

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interesting ideas about nonconformity

Interesting ideas about nonconformity, but still a little uneventful. A quick listen, that is read very well

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  • Matt Mole
  • 23-11-20

Delightful and eccentric

This story of one woman finding her place in the world, despite people’s objections, is enchanting and entertaining.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Siobhan Ricci
  • Siobhan Ricci
  • 08-06-21

A gem of a book

Convenience Store Woman is a sneaky great book. It’s very short but is rich with character and ideas that make you feel like you’ve gotten everything you’ve wanted out of it. The book tells the story of a woman who is stuck in life, working a dead end job, but also sort of loves filling that place in society. She’s a complex character dealing with standards put on her by society and her culture. The book explores these themes while still telling a great story, which very few books do that. Enjoy!

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Profile Image for HolySmoke
  • 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.