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Convenience Store Woman

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  110,173 ratings  ·  14,844 reviews
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 rule ...more
Paperback, 163 pages
Published June 27th 2018 by Portobello Books (first published July 27th 2016)
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Sara Dawdy I do think it is - in fact, that comparison came to me while I was reading this book. Neither main character is able to interpret "normal" social stru…moreI do think it is - in fact, that comparison came to me while I was reading this book. Neither main character is able to interpret "normal" social structure and struggles to figure out what she truly wants against the messages she's getting from society around her. Keiko's revelation about what makes her happy may not match that of most people, but that she finds it at all - and the book's message that one can live a satisfying life without meeting anyone else's expectations for happiness - made the book enjoyable for me.(less)
Marisa N That was my first thought when I read the description! I thought she displayed traits of Autism Spectrum Disorder throughout the book.

For example:
- Di…more
That was my first thought when I read the description! I thought she displayed traits of Autism Spectrum Disorder throughout the book.

For example:
- Difficulty with communication and interaction with other people
- Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors
- Unusual facial expressions, movements, gestures, tone of voice, etc.
- Difficulty understanding another person’s point of view or being unable to predict or understand other people’s actions

Throughout the book she discusses the lengths she goes to to fit into society. This could be an example of masking. "Masking or camouflaging is artificially ‘perform’ social behavior that is deemed to be more ‘neurotypical’ or hiding behavior that might be viewed as socially unacceptable."

Masking is also more common among women/girls with autism, which is one of the many reasons girls are less likely to be diagnosed.

I think sometimes people confuse ASD with cognitive function. While we often associate those on the Autism spectrum with lower cognitive function, that's not necessarily the case; From what I understand, this is one of the reasons "Asperger" is now part of ASD, rather than it's own diagnosis, as the distinction between "Asperger syndrome" and "high-functioning autism" is difficult to determine. (less)

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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Elyse  Walters
The moment I finished reading this story - I immediately wanted to know everything about the author- Sayaka Murata. WHO IS SHE? I was screaming inside about how WONDERFUL she must be.

This book is a GEM!!!!! Awe-inspiring writing — irresistible—and weirdly outlandish!

My gosh...I had the best laugh when I discovered that ‘our author’ —-one of Japan’s most exciting contemporary writers—[I AGREE,I AGREE] —‘really’ works as a part time employee in a convenience store. Talk about material for inspira
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A quirky novel about a 36 year old woman who works in a convenience store and cannot conceive herself beyond her job. But this is also about a woman who doesn’t know how to be human in the way others expect her too. At times funny, at times sad, always compelling.
Sam Quixote
Keiko has worked at the convenience store her entire adult life. But as she nears 40, the pressure to find a “real” job or get married is mounting – what sort of life awaits Keiko outside the comfort zone of the store and will she step out to meet it?

I feel like there’s a good novel somewhere in Convenience Store Woman but Sayaka Murata didn’t realise it. Her commentary on conformist society and the individual is inane and unoriginal though far worse is her muddled placement of the main charact
Jim Fonseca
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-authors
This is a popular new book you have probably heard of. It’s short, almost a novella, by a Japanese woman author. The blurbs call it ‘darkly comic.’

Keiko is 36 and she has been working part-time in a convenience store in Tokyo for 18 years. She’s an excellent worker – a dream employee who loves her job – so much so that she even comes in on occasion, unpaid on her time off, to help out. She can’t even help herself from straightening things out in other stores she doesn’t even work in.


Keiko has a
Barry Pierce
I am somewhat taken aback by the quotes plastered around this novel that reiterate just how funny it is. I have a dangerously weak spot for deadpan humour, but I do have to...worry about those to read Convenience Store Woman and found humour in it. This has to be one of the most relentlessly depressing tales ever put to print. It's practically Dostoyevskian. I'm going to have double my mirtazapine tonight. ...more
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Unless I’m cured, normal people will expurgate me.

In 2020 the “essential worker” became a hot topic of conversation. As the world shut down, the essential worker stocked shelves, collected trash, took temperatures and kept society going. Yet, for all the praise justly bestowed upon them, these are often jobs that are disregarded, looked down upon and don’t provide much of a wage. Sayaka Murata’s hit novel from recent years, Convenience Store Woman is a darkly comic look at the life of--you gue
Keiko Furukura lives an atypical life. At thirty-six-years-old, she's a virgin and completely disinterested in romantic relationships. She has worked part-time at a Japanese convenience store for eighteen years. Her family was thrilled when she was first employed because they saw it as a sign of her growth as a person. Keiko has always been considered peculiar, but the job helped her finally become an "ordinary person." The convenience store is "a dependable, normal world" where she's valued as ...more
Justin Tate
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actual heart emojis burst from my aura the whole time I read this book. Hilariously quirky, full of social commentary that’s nothing short of brilliant. Savvy author to deliver a great conclusion just when the premise starts to wane. It’s a 3 hour read that will stay with me forever. Genius!
You learn something new every day.

Maybe sometimes that thing is a life skill, like how to drive, or something classically school-related, like how to speak Spanish.

I do not know how to do either of those things, but I do now know that I apparently like reading about convenience stores and the people who are obsessed with them, thanks to this book.

And that counts as something I learned.

I will now commit a necessary evil and use a word I hate but one that is perfectly able to describe this book:
I'm so glad I picked this book up at Schiphol airport. Loved this book. Something else. Haven't read anything like it. I guess it is all about what is the expectancy of society of what people are and should be. If you are different, you don't fit in and people simply won't accept. Keiko is a convenience store worker for years. And she seems to really like it and is good at it. But people don't understand and don't accept it. And they don't understand she does not have a boyfriend. Admittedly, sh ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, hardback
Such an interesting and different book. Keiko is different, not considered "normal" by friends, family, and co-workers so she tries to mimic what is supposed to be normal, just to keep everybody off her back. She loves her convenience store job, of eighteen years, her head and life hum with the love of her job. It's only when she feels she must change herself even more that she goes too far out of her way to be "normal" and her life falls apart. Yes, everyone else thought her life was meaningles ...more
Paul Bryant
In Britain these things are called corner shops, even if they aren’t on a corner. My local convenience store is really not convenient at all. It’s small and cram full of groceries and all kinds of crap in teetering towers so you can hardly edge your way inside. When you are in if there’s anyone else there it becomes an uncomfortably intimate experience if you try to get past that person to the thing you want. Then there is the owner. He fixes you with a baleful death-glare from the moment the br ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
Revolutionary Conformity

The Bob Dylan song ‘You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody’ comes to mind when reading this deceptively simple story. In fact, like Dylan’s lyrics, it is a highly sophisticated commentary on the need for human beings to belong to a social group, to have a role, and what happens - good and bad - when they do.

Miss Furukura is acutely aware of the details of human behaviour and speech but she has no emotional reaction to what she experiences. She must learn to fit in by copying
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader by: Taryn
4 quirky stars to Convenience Store Woman! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Keiko was always a little different in her parents’ eyes. When she went to college, she got a job at a local convenience store. She tried her best to fit in by copying the other employees there, from their clothing to their mannerisms. Life passes by, and many years later, Keiko is still working at the convenience store. No one around Keiko is comfortable with her choice to stay there, but she is content...until she tries her best to change.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, rounded up (but with MUCH internal turmoil)

I don’t know about you, but I never think about convenience stores. (Except, wait, right now I’m thinking about the fact that 7-11s don’t have bathrooms. How is that convenient I want to know.) Convenience stores are all Cheetos and lottery tickets, in and out in a matter of minutes. Hit the road, jack, head on out to your next stop.

Well, when you read this book, the convenience store is front and center. The customers hit the road lickety-split,
daph pink ♡
✒ 4.5 stars 💜

Convenience store woman is strange, absurd, audacious , a bit quirky but definitely a really nice and short read.

I personally think this book is not funny at all. It's dark and depressing. Its a character driven book because the plot events were mundane but that's where author's flair of perceptiveness come into play. It's like she's taking something mundane and making it compelling.

I love Keiko so much like she is sharp, observant, logical, talented and perceptive. It's like she
Amalia Gkavea
‘’It is the start of another day, the time when the world wakes up and the cogs of society begin to move. I am one of those cogs, going round and round. I have become a functioning part of the world, rotating in the time of day called morning.’’

Keiko has been working in the same convenience store in Tokyo for eighteen years. She is not interested in finding a new job, she doesn’t particularly want to hang out with her few acquaintances, and having a family of her own or even a relationship h
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads
“At that moment, for the first time ever, I felt I’d become a part in the machine of society. I’ve been reborn, I thought. That day, I actually became a normal cog in society.”
Some may view 18 years spent working in a convenience store next to those who will move on to other jobs pretty soon a failure in life. Add to that being a 36-year-old single and childless woman in Japan - and you can just imagine the pitying whispers of those judging you behind your back. But for Keiko Furukura this s
JV (semi-hiatus)
“The voice of the convenience store won’t stop flowing through me. I was born to hear this voice.”
Offbeat, perky, 36-year-old-virgin Keiko Furukura, a checkout counter gal, has been working at Tokyo's Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart convenience store since she was eighteen. To her family, Keiko was rather a peculiar girl, undeniably an oddball ever since she was a small child. Because her family loves her so much, they wanted to "cure" her and introduce some kind of "normality" in her life. We
Greta G
Keiko Furukura is a 36-year old woman who works part-time in a convenience store and lives in an old, tiny apartment. She has never fallen in love and isn’t interested in a sexual relationship.
Although she’s perfectly content with her life and with the daily routine of her job as a store worker, people in her little social circle find her odd and put pressure on her to become more ‘acceptable’ by finding a decent job and by getting married.
Keiko realizes she’s considered a ‘foreign object’, bu
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Convenience Store Woman as described by author Jami Attenberg: ”What a weird and wonderful and deeply satisfying book this is.”

For the most part, I felt the same way about it. This is a slim book, with a simple premise: 36-year old Keiko Furukura is a convenience store worker and has been for the last 18 years. She doesn’t have a serious relationship (nor has she ever had one) and she has only a few friends. It appears her life has not progressed over the last several years. She is whole-hearte

A look at the game of life. Remember that board game? Ever play it back in the day? Spin the wheel, go to university, get a job, get married, have kids, and cash in at the end. Everyone who plays lives happily ever after.

The rules are pretty simple, but for Miss Furukura, it's a baffling game. She's never understood how to play, how to act. Figuring out what is "normal" never came naturally. She even mimics the cadence of those around her in order to sound human when she talks. At the age of eig
Richard (on hiatus)
‘The normal world has no room for exceptions and always quietly eliminates foreign objects. Anyone who is lacking is disposed of.’

Deep in the gleaming new business district of Hiiromachi, a Tokyo suburb, is a convenience store. In this clean, controlled and brightly lit world we meet Keiko Furukura.
She has worked here, part time, for 18 years and her life is defined by her work.
Keiko lives for the routine of the store and the comfort of familiarity. She relishes the idea of being a ‘useable too
Holly  B
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

An odd little book with quite eccentric characters
Keiko is the quirky protagonist and she decides that working in a convenience store is both satisfying and provides her with a sense of belonging. She feels very "connected" to the store and its routines and mundane tasks.  She doesn't mind this, she thrives and enjoys her job and is a hard worker.

Her family constantly worries that she is "not normal."  Society has certain "expectations" and she has chosen not to comply.  There
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A conveniently funny, conveniently quirky, not-so- conveniently sad, yet overall remarkable, and quick read by this seemingly great writer. I often bemoan the lack of 'new stories' being published; well, this clever yet simplistically told tale, told in the first person, with a dead pan styled narrative - the tale of an almost-psychopathic woman who uses her job in a convenience store as a control mechanism to civilise herself - is all about new story! 18 years into to her controlled life, somet ...more
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic
A very strange little book, Convenience Store Woman, is one of those stories that linger in your subconscious. You continue to think about it and ponder its meaning. I think the author is very good at putting herself in a different type of consciousness. The protagonist, Keiko, has never understood people and has trouble fitting into society. She finds her purpose in life when she takes a job at a convenience store. The store's manual gives her instructions on how to behave when greeting custome ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Convenience store woman is a simple little story about Keiko Furukura a totally quirky hopelessly inept character but in a totally charming and sweet way. She’s a character that defies societies norms by bucking the traditional role designated for women that require them to have a “proper” or “normal” job, a husband and children by a certain age. I felt a deep sadness for Keiko always being subjected to judgement and how she was always making excuses for her life choices. I felt a real tug on my ...more
Ms. Smartarse
Published in English as Convenience Store Woman

Anyone who's ever gone shopping for groceries must have a thing or two to rant about employees. You're late, but still need to nip in to buy that little something before getting to work, yet the shop assistant is taking his/her sweet time chatting about that totally hilarious (you had to be there!) story.

chop chop

Not Keiko Furukura! After 18 years, she's so well attuned to the sounds of the convenience store, that she can react even to the slightest change
J.L.   Sutton
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“More than a person, I’m a convenience store worker. Even if that means I’m abnormal and can’t make a living and drop down dead, I can’t escape that fact. My very cells exist for the convenience store.”

Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman immediately immerses the reader into the world of the Japanese convenience store, what it stocks, the quirks of its patrons and its idiosyncratic rhythm. We also quickly learn that for our protagonist, Keiko Furukura, this is the only world that makes sense
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
“The normal world has no room for exceptions and always quietly eliminates foreign objects. Anyone who is lacking is disposed of.”

Convenience Store Woman tells the store of Keiko Furukura, a 36 year-old woman who has worked in a convenience store for half of her life. While her family and friends go to university, get married, have children and do what is viewed by society as 'normal,' Keiko follows her own routine. She works passionately for a convenience store, following the employee manual,
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Sayaka Murata (in Japanese, 村田 沙耶香) is one of the most exciting up-and-coming writers in Japan today.
She herself still works part time in a convenience store, which gave her the inspiration to write Convenience Store Woman (Konbini Ningen). She debuted in 2003 with Junyu (Breastfeeding), which won the Gunzo Prize for new writers. In 2009 she won the Noma Prize for New Writers with Gin iro no uta

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“This society hasn't changed one bit. People who don't fit into the village are expelled: men who don't hunt, women who don't give birth to children. For all we talk about modern society and individualism, anyone who doesn't try to fit in can expect to be meddled with, coerced, and ultimately banished from the village.” 114 likes
“The normal world has no room for exceptions and always quietly eliminates foreign objects. Anyone who is lacking is disposed of.

So that’s why I need to be cured. Unless I’m cured, normal people will expurgate me.”
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