We have committed ourselves to bringing you the best in Japanese fiction. Here is a cult classic, the story of a 36 year old convenience store clerk in Tokyo, Keiko Furukawa. Quirky, thought provoking and an unlikely hero. We loved her plain speaking, matter of fact voice, with a passion for doing doing her best at work from loudly welcoming customers into the store to building displays but she begins to ask questions, why do people care about her marital status when she makes acquaintances with a new deadbeat co-worker. We are not sure we can call it a friendship? See what others have to say. We give it two thumbs up!
“In Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman, a small, elegant and deadpan novel, a woman senses that society finds her strange, so she culls herself from the herd before anyone else can do it . . . Casts a fluorescent spell . . . A thrifty and offbeat exploration of what we must each leave behind to participate in the world.”—Dwight Garner, New York Times
“The novel borrows from Gothic romance, in its pairing of the human and the alluringly, dangerously not. It is a love story, in other words, about a misfit and a store . . . Keiko’s self-renunciations reveal the book to be a kind of grim post-capitalist reverie: she 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.”—Katy Waldman, New Yorker
“Alienation gets deliciously perverse treatment in Convenience Store Woman . . . 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 . . . With bracing good humor . . . Murata celebrate[s] the quiet heroism of women who accept the cost of being themselves.”—John Powers, NPR “Fresh Air”
“Keiko, a defiantly oddball 36-year-old woman, has worked in a dead-end job as a convenience store cashier in Tokyo for half her life. She lives alone and has never been in a romantic relationship, or even had sex. And she is perfectly happy with all of it . . . Written in plain-spoken prose, the slim volume focuses on a character who in many ways personifies a demographic panic in Japan.”—Motoko Rich, New York Times (profile)
“As intoxicating as a sake mojito, Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman is a rare treat: a literary prize-winner that’s also a page-turner. Its heroine, Keiko, is an 18-year-old Tokyo misfit who yearns to be like everyone else. Then she lands a job at Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart, one of those enchanting Japanese wonderlands that are equal parts 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. As Keiko finds liberation in the self-effacing rituals of being a good convenience store employee, Murata offers a smart, deliciously perverse look at everything from how mini-marts actually work to the rules, many of them invisible, that ultimately define our identity. And because the book is bracingly brief, you can down it in one afternoon gulp.”—John Powers, Vogue
“It’s the novel’s cumulative, idiosyncratic poetry that lingers, attaining a weird, fluorescent kind of beauty all of its own. The world of the store with its dented cans and rice balls and barcodes and scanners, and Keiko’s shivery, unashamedly sensual response as a ‘convenience store animal’ who can ‘hear the store’s voice telling me what it wanted, how it wanted to be.’ The book’s title is more than perfect, for this, you soon realize, is a love story. Keiko’s love story: the convenience is all hers.”—Julie Myerson, Guardian