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Publisher's Summary

Meet Keiko. Keiko is 36 years old. She's never had a boyfriend, and she's been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years. Keiko's family wishes she'd get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won't get married. But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she's not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store.

©2020 Sayaka Murata (P)2019 Sayaka Murata

Critic Reviews

Witty, wily, and astonishingly sharp.

-- Lisa McInerney, author of "The Glorious Heresies"

An exhilaratingly weird and funny Japanese novel. Unsettling and totally unpredictable.

-- Sally Rooney

A haunting, dark, and often hilarious take on society's expectations of the single woman.

-- Elif Batuman, author of "The Idiot"

[A] short, deadpan gem... This is a true original.

-- Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail 

A sure-fire hit of the summer... quirky [and] profound.

-- Irish Times 

What listeners say about Convenience Store Woman

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boring

it was depressing and a potentially problematic portrayal of autism. I felt neutral about the protagonist and disliked all other characters. it was underwhelming.

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  • Matt Mole
  • 23-11-2020

Delightful and eccentric

This story of one woman finding her place in the world, despite people’s objections, is enchanting and entertaining.

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  • HolySmoke
  • 10-08-2020

Boring AND depressing: a fateful combo

Where are these good reviews coming from? I see adjectives such as "hilarious," "witty," and "charming," and I can't help but think that something was (literally) lost in translation. I went after "Convenience Store Woman" after seeing it recommended on a list of books for people who loved "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," which I adored. CSW not only lacks the lovable characters, unique perspectives, and gripping storyline of EOICF, but it lacks a basic plot. CSW follows Keiko, a 36 year old woman living in Japan who has struggled with passing as "normal" her whole life. She cares about no one and nothing but being valuable to society as a "cog" in a smoothly working convenience store... and that's it. The story goes nowhere. Random characters ranging from dislikable and uninteresting to utterly detestable come and go. Keiko ponders slitting her baby nephew's throat when he cries. Convenience store displays are described again and again. Keiko calmly recalls knocking out a classmate in childhood and having no emotional response to his pain. A disgusting sexist character obsesses repeatedly about society never developing past "the stone age." Keiko calculates what percentage of her body is made up of convenience store products. The reader repeatedly gets their hopes up that THIS chapter will be the one in which Keiko has a character arc, and is repeatedly let down. The reader's mood descends slowly at first, then faster, as they are presented with a bleak and hopeless view of society and those who are caught up in it. Then the book ends. Proceed at your own risk.

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  • Annie
  • 31-07-2020

It Is The Convenience Store!

Keiko is 36 years old. She seems immature when compared to a Western woman. She's not had a boyfriend, and she's been working in the same supermarket for half of her life. Her friends and family have expectations of how she should live her life. She is expected to have a good husband and/or job. She finally enters in to a relationship of convenience with the most unlikely man. Humour lies quietly beneath the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lawrence Mcbride
  • 21-05-2020

Engaging story that pulls you along

I really enjoyed this work. It was an unusual story, but that was why I had picked it after reading the synopsis and I wasn't disappointed. The viewpoint of the protagonist was delivered in such a matter of fact way by the narrator that it made the impact of the protagonists early life even more impactful. I will seek this author out again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert Stitt
  • 18-11-2020

interesting ideas about nonconformity

Interesting ideas about nonconformity, but still a little uneventful. A quick listen, that is read very well

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  • sorrel
  • 16-11-2020

Good

Started out great but got repetitive and a little boring towards the end. Had some elements of good political commentary and societal expectations about love and careers but they became overplayed by the end.

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  • Eilis
  • 11-11-2020

Short and quirky

I enjoyed it as it reminded me of our honeymoon in Japan where we spent lots of time in convenience stores looking at the exotic treats on offer and also just the general experience of life in Japan (the formality of the workers everywhere etc) - besides that it gave a possible insight into one autistic woman's thought process and experience of the world. Quite interesting.

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  • Stuart Bain
  • 24-07-2020

Very short but fascinating read

I did really like the book, it's well performed and a quite sad but funny story. Vibes of "Flowers for Algernon". It is a tough sell at one credit for a book that's just over 3 hours long though but it's a must if you are interested in Japanese culture.

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  • Mark
  • 11-06-2020

delicious

this short book was ear tinglingly wonderful. 3 trips to work in lockdown and it was done. I was sad that it left but I know it has gone to work in the conveniance store where it will be happy. I wish I had not heard it so I could listen to it again

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  • EMK
  • 04-06-2020

Such an unusual novel - totally absorbing!

I felt slightly bereft when this ended - it is quite a short novel and it didn’t end as I might have expected. Beautifully read. It is written from a totally different perspective on life. Some have described this book as funny, I don’t agree but it is totally absorbing and certainly not sad as there’s a total absence of self pity in the main character. Every word counts. The book is worth reading for the description of the feelings/states that the collective sounds of the convenience store generate in the convenience store woman alone. Totally loved it. There’s potential for a sequel.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-06-2020

Worth a listen...

Its a short quick listen which helps. It got quite repetitive and I'm not sure if the translation to English was the cause of this. All in all a good book that questions, what is normal? I needed more for Keiko but maybe the notion of more is merely a societal way of conforming.

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  • Julie
  • 23-05-2020

Social expectations vs happiness

Keiko is a bit different. She doesn't understand feelings and social norms like others do. But despite this, she has found her spot in the world: a convenience store, with clear and easy to understand rules. Every day she is successful at serving customers, and she observes her coworkers to figure out how to wear the right clothes and say the right things. She is happy. Yet people keep pointing out that she should get a PROPER job, and definitely get married like normal people do. Should she abandon what she loves in life because everyone else says so? A quick read, both funny and sad, about having to live up to social expectations that are at odds with what you want and who you are.

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