Convenience Store Woman is the 2016 contemporary short novel by award winning Japanese writer Sayaka Murata. This delightfully unusual novel is about a 36-year old woman, who has been working in the same convenience store for the last 18 years. Unlike most people whose jobs serve only as a means to an end, Keiko Furukura’s life revolves entirely around her job. From the clothes she wears to the food she eats to even her personal hygiene, every action she takes is motivated by the interests of the store.
This short 163-page read is written in a very matter-of-fact way, devoid of any linguistic decoration, which I think is significant as it mirrors the banal, everyday nature of Keiko’s life. Keiko is unusually meticulous about her sacred profession since it’s the only thing that anchors her to normality. She has always been a very strange individual and her job allows her to ascertain which behaviours are normal through the observation and mimicry of other people. Her characterisation is originally unconventional making the monotony of the writing and the story uniquely appealing.
I loved the dynamic between Keiko and Shiraha. The oddness of their relationship was so captivating that I found myself hooked, wanting to see how things between them would develop. Shiraha is such a complex character that I couldn’t help but be drawn to despite his embittered nature and lack of respect for women. He’s the type of repellent person I would normally avoid but there’s an underlying depth beneath his anti-social hikikomori like behaviour* that softened his character.
Convenience Store Woman is written through the perspective of Keiko which gives the reader insight into her eccentric way of thinking. I thoroughly enjoyed this approach because it gave the concept of normality a sense of subjectivity. I was so drawn to this story that I completed it in a day. The way it injected an almost unopened newness into the banality of being a store worker through Keiko’s unusual perspective was perfection. The only criticism I have was that it ended too soon for me, I feel like the direction it took at the end was a bit too simplistic; I feel like Shiraha’s story was left unfinished and I wish it was developed a bit more. For that reason I rate Convenience Store Woman..
Hey Readers! I hope you enjoyed this review, I definitely enjoyed writing it as this short read is up there as one of the best books I’ve read this year so far! But it wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me which I’m still on the hunt for before 2019 so please suggest something amazing! 🙏 ⬇ o͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡╮(｡❛ᴗ❛｡)╭o͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡͡ ⬇️
hikikomori – Japanese word referring to socially awkward individuals who prefer to withdraw from society, particularly common with Japanese males.