Convenience Store Woman – A book review

Mar 5, 202016 comments

I recently read The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa and loved it, and I picked Convenience Store Woman on a whim hoping it will continue that streak. Let us get on with the review to know if it did, shall we?

I picked Convenience Store Woman on a whim hoping it will be as good as the other Japanese lit I've read. Read on with the review to know if it did! What is your favorite #translatedwork? Recommendations, please. Let us talk. Click To Tweet

About the book

Convenience Store Woman Review cover

Book Name: Convenience Store Woman

Author: Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator)

Genre: Fiction – Drama

Characters: Keiko Furukura, Shiraha

Setting: Tokyo, Japan

The plot

Keiko Furukura, a 36 year old convenience store worker, doesn’t fit into the social constructs. She doesn’t have a husband or a boyfriend, kids nor a well paying job – in short an outcast. 

Keiko has been working at the same convenience store for eighteen years and has a routine that works for her. She has no interest in trying to fit in to the society but conveniently masks her oddities. She goes even to the extent of faking an illness which makes her too weak to work anywhere else. 

Her peaceful life goes into a toss when she meets another part time worker, Shiraha who is an outcast as well. They share a lot of commonalities, and they even get into a relationship charade to shut the voices of the society.

How did that turn out? You will have to read Convenience Store Woman to know more. 

My initial thoughts

I love reading character driven books and Convenience Store Woman does a great work at that. Keiko is a strong character who accepts and has no problem being the odd duck. She survives the pressure on woman to marry and birth a child at the right age without openly rebelling against the system. She is on the brink of a break down and yet manages to get through the motions of life. I adore the odd duck she was. 

Related:  Book Review: Fluence

Convenience Store Woman is a melancholic, relatable and yet so surreal.  It is quintessentially Japanese and is a great choice to read if you want to know more about the country’s culture and society. 

I liked reading about the operations of a convenience store and the role it plays in helping Keiko to mimic other humans. Maybe she is on the spectrum but the author never explicitly discusses that. I am glad I found Convenience Store Woman among the hundreds of recommendations on bookstagram.

Things that worked for me

  • Convenience Store Woman gives a great commentary on the culture and society of Japan.
  • The characters are etched to perfection. I could relate to them so deeply that it scares me.
  • I loved the poignant undertone all through the book.

Things that didn’t work for me

Even though the book is comical in bits, but I saw a many reviews saying this book was hysterical or funny. It wasn’t. Amusing maybe. Funny – no!

Bottom-line

If you love character driven books and translated works, Convenience Store Woman is a great choice. If you liked books like Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time, this is for you!

Pin me!

Convenience Store Woman Pinterest review

Let us chat

Do you read translated works? What was the last translated book that you read? What is your favorite and I am calling for more recommendations. Let us talk.

16 Comments

  1. Finitha Jose

    I love Japanese novels. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I hope you enjoy this one.

      Reply
  2. VIDYA

    While I am yet to read the others you mention also (‘Eleanor…’ as well as ‘The Curious…’), I know I enjoy books like this, so will add this to my weeping TBR.. 🙂

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      YOU HAVE TO!

      Reply
  3. DJ Sakata

    I think I would like this – I adore character-driven tales

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am sure you would. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  4. Olivia Roach

    I have been told if I liked Eleanor Oliphant I would enjoy this one as well, so I think I am going to have to give it a try. I love a good character driven read and if it is amusing as you said, that is good enough for me!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Oh, you are definitely gonna love it. Do read it please.

      Reply
  5. Natalie

    Not heard of this but like the sound of it!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am recommending this one to everyone I know.

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad to be of use.

      Reply
  6. Kathy West

    Thanks for introducing this book to me.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  7. Whispering Stories

    I’ve never heard of the book before but I like the sound of it. Great review,

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      It is a good one, you should try it!

      Reply

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Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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