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The convenience store woman review

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Eleanor Oliphant & Convenience Store Woman - REVIEWS

‘Convenience Store Woman’ Casts a Fluorescent Spell

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Although Japanese writers such as Haruki Murakami and the British-Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro have steadily gained popularity in the West, contemporary Japanese literature remains rare in the English-speaking world. Besides the language barrier, one of the main reasons for this is the cultural difference. As such, translated works offer a fascinating insight into a society which is often very different from our own.

Convenience Store Woman tells the tale of year-old combini convenience store worker Keiko Furukawa, a lifelong dokushinsha singleton who has always felt out of place in society. I first heard about the English version of Convenience Store Woman Grove Press, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, but on reading the Japanese version what struck me before I had even turned the first page was the difference in title.

Through its portrayal of Keiko and those around her, Convenience Store Woman depicts several issues facing Japanese society today: the pressure to conform, labor shortages, and a decreasing marriage rate, coupled with the growing number of unmarried singletons.

For anyone who has ever been to Japan, combinis are a familiar sight found on nearly every street corner. This is not surprising, given that there are over 50, of them across the country. Many of us living in Japan are regular combini customers, but how many of us have ever considered what it would be like to work there?

This is exactly the question Convenience Store Woman explores. Told from the point of view of a customer stepping foot in the store, the novel surrounds us with the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of a place we know all too well.

Although a fictional tale, Convenience Store Woman has its feet firmly placed in the real world in terms of the social issues it tackles. It is a well-known fact that Japan is facing a critical labor shortage, and convenience stores have been the first to suffer, with Family Mart among the first of the big chains announcing plans to end hour operation. The writer Murata would know, being a part-time convenience store worker herself, just like her protagonist.

The novel even features a foreign shop worker, a microcosmic reflection of an increasing trend which adds a further layer of realism to the tale. The society that is portrayed in Convenience Store Woman centers around marriage and finding a partner, raising another social issue in Japanese society. This is apparent in Convenience Store Woman , where those around Keiko seem to express one universal opinion, which is that finding a stable full-time job, getting married, and having children are the only ways to social success.

Everyone is so happy at the prospect of Keiko finding herself a partner that no one, not even her boss, questions her decision to suddenly quit a job she has worked for her whole life. But is it? However, it is not just Keiko who receives a bashing from society, but also her mismatched partner, Shirahara.

Convenience Store Woman has arguably had more success in the West. Few of my Japanese friends have heard of Combini Ningen the Japanese title , despite over a million copies being sold domestically. Indeed, several Western critics have picked up on this Western interest and given Convenience Store Woman a feminist reading — admittedly much easier to do given the English title.

However, this question should remain rhetorical, as Murata deliberately leaves her feminist views unsaid. The lack of chemistry between Keiko and her fake partner Shirahara contrasts starkly with her genuine loyalty and affection for her combini. There, she works to full energy levels during the day, and when she goes home after work the sounds of the convenience store are still ringing in her ears. She consciously sleeps, eats, and lives for her convenience store.

Her dedication is so strong that, without the job, she feels demotivated and her life has no meaning. So, is Convenience Store Woman simply a weird love story about a social misfit? Above all, I would argue that the novel is much more than an unusual love story. Born and raised in Britain, Sara found herself in Japan in a search for the other half of her identity. Her hobbies are hiking, music, and noticing everyday cultural differences as a foreigner living in Japan.

June 18, pm. Peter Tasker, Arcus Research Leave your thoughts. November 18, am. Anders Corr Leave your thoughts. January 19, am. Stefania Viti Leave your thoughts. You must be logged in to post a comment. Sara Doel April 23, am Leave your thoughts. Author: Born and raised in Britain, Sara found herself in Japan in a search for the other half of her identity. Related Posts:. Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post a comment.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata review – sublimely weird

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. Read more Read less Free sleep tracks A good night's sleep is essential for keeping our minds and bodies strong. Explore Audible's collection of free sleep and relaxation audio experiences. Learn more click to open popover Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App.

A quirky, wryly humorous slice of Japanese fiction that smuggles a scalpel sharp dissection of gender politics and social expectations in amongst the deadpan lines and off-beat dialogue. Keiko finds her new job stacking shelves both rewarding and enjoyable, but her friends and family soon begin exerting pressure to force her down a very different path. Keiko has never really fitted in.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.

Convenience Store Woman review: a deeply engaging debut novel

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now. Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. NOOK Book. The English-language debut of an exciting young voice in international fiction, selling , copies in Japan alone, Convenience Store Woman is a bewitching portrayal of contemporary Japan through the eyes of a single woman who fits into the rigidity of its work culture only too well. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. 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.

Sayaka Murata’s Eerie “Convenience Store Woman” Is a Love Story Between a Misfit and a Store

Convenience Store Woman tells the story of a year-old social misfit who has worked for 18 years in a titular store in Tokyo. Murata writes with a deadpan humour in early scenes that have much fun depicting Keiko the outsider. She literally learns the language of her new tribe by imitating the speech patterns of her matronly supervisor Mrs Izumi, or the hip till assistant Sugawara, to great comic effect. Instead Murata uses her oddball narrator to deliver quips at an impressive rate about so-called normal social behaviour. Such a device is not new in contemporary fiction.

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N ot all novel titles manage so very literally to describe the contents, but this one — unapologetically deadpan yet enticingly comic — absolutely does. Keiko has been a worry to her family all her life, bullied and friendless, her behaviour sometimes even chilling. At school she bashes a boy over the head with a shovel to stop him fighting. Another time she asks her mother if she can eat a dead budgie found in the park.

JAPAN Forward

It captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. The novel won the Akutagawa Prize in It is the first of Murata's novels to be translated into English. Keiko Furukura is a year old woman, who has been working part-time at a convenience store , or konbini , for the last 18 years.

A quirky, wryly humorous slice of Japanese fiction that smuggles a scalpel sharp dissection of gender politics and social expectations in amongst the deadpan lines and off-beat dialogue. Keiko finds her new job stacking shelves both rewarding and enjoyable, but her friends and family soon begin exerting pressure to force her down a very different path. Keiko has never really fitted in. At school and university people find her odd and her family worries she'll never be normal. To appease them, Keiko takes a job at a newly opened convenience store. Here, she finds peace and purpose in the simple, daily tasks and routine interactions.

Convenience Store Woman

If you feel strange, strange things will happen to you. On certain days, one understands this impulse. Its heroine, Keiko, is 36, essentially friendless, a virgin and contented. She is a sort of wimple-free nun, the Smile Mart her convent. Keiko is a blank slate; she holds the world at prophylactic remove. The food at Japanese convenience stores is miles above the Hot Pocket cuisine in ours. How did she get this way?

Jun 21, - Katy Waldman reviews “Convenience Store Woman,” the first novel by the best-selling Japanese author Sayaka Murata to be translated into.

In our dark late-capitalist hypnosis, convenience might carry a whiff of moral virtue. It suggests thrift, accommodation, helpfulness. You may not even notice the convenience-store worker until she is in front of you, enthusiastically bagging your purchases.

Convenience Store Woman: A Novel

Although Japanese writers such as Haruki Murakami and the British-Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro have steadily gained popularity in the West, contemporary Japanese literature remains rare in the English-speaking world. Besides the language barrier, one of the main reasons for this is the cultural difference. As such, translated works offer a fascinating insight into a society which is often very different from our own.

She has found her place in the world, and that is as a part-time worker at the Smile Mart, one in a chain of convenience stores in Tokyo. Its routines and social certainties create an arena in which she can operate with confidence. She has shaped her entire life around it, and if anything makes her unhappy — aside from disorder within the store — it is that her way of life and behavior seem, oddly enough, to upset her family. As a girl she brought consternation to her parents through her lack of empathy, her obliviousness to accepted behavior and a kind of hyperpracticality.

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