Title: Convenience Store Woman
Author: Sayaka Murata
Goodreads page: Link
Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction ― many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual ― and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…
A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.
I have to admit that I called this book “Family Mart Woman” for the whole time I was reading it. I don’t know why I was so obsessed with naming it like that! Family Mart is the name of a chain of Convenience stores in Japan… like I was calling it 7-Eleven Woman!
We have a wacky main character that compares the entire universe to the Convenience store where she works… or is the store her whole Universe? I think that this is one of the questions that you will have to read the book to find out the answer.
It’s a story that will easily get a laugh but some of the scenes are a bit bitter; the scene and the dialogues are funny but the base concept can be a little saddening.
I think that, despite being a somewhat funny book, this is also a criticism of the modern Japanese society that expects you to do certain things at a certain age or you will appear as immature or weird, while this isn’t absolutely the truth.
A light and nice novel that isn’t also really long. A really good way to spend an evening by reading! Totally recommended!