TITLE/AUTHOR: Convenience Store Woman; Sayaka Murata
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2018
GENRE: Fiction / Literary
FORMAT: audio /LENGTH: 3 hours and 21 minutes
SOURCE: Library download
SETTING(s): Tokyo Japan
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: A short gem of a book about an unconventional woman who just didn't fit society's expectations of normal.
BRIEF REVIEW: Keiko Furukura is a 36 year old woman who has worked at Smile Mart, a convenience store for 18 years. She loves her work, does a great job making sure that the store stays organized and that things run smoothly. While she seems a bit "different", she likes her life and routines.
Even as a child she had a way of shocking others with her reactions. When the children found a blue bird dead in the park, while the other children cried, Keiko wanted to know if she could take it home for her father to cook for dinner. Another time when young boys in her class wouldn't stop fighting, she took a shovel and hit one over the head to get them to stop much to the horror of others.
As an adult, although she often feels out of place, she tries to appear normal. She doesn't understand the obsession of her sister and coworkers as to why she doesn't have a boyfriend or a better job. It isn't until she lets a short-term male convenience store employee stay with her do people begin to see her as normal but, the two misfits together are a whole other story.
I loved everything about this quiet, compelling story about society's pressure for individuals to conform. The first person narration by Keiko worked beautifully as it gave the reader the opportunity to see life and people through her slanted views which are sometimes a bit shocking and other times quite amusing. The story lets the reader speculate as to what makes Keiko "different", yes, she lacked social skills but, she also exhibited some sociopathic tendencies as well. I loved Keiko, a delightful woman whose brain was wired just a bit differently.
The story is beautifully translated from Japanese and the audio version, read by Nancy Wu was fantastic. I couldn't put this one down and will surely listen to it again or read the print edition as there were some great quotes. Give this short novella a try if you haven't done so already.
RATING: 5/5 stars
"There were two types of prejudiced people--those who had a deep-rooted urge for prejudice and those who unthinkingly repeated a barrage of slurs they'd heard somewhere."
"I decided to keep my mouth shut as best as I could outside home. I would no longer do anything of my own accord, and would either just mimic what everyone else was doing, or simply follow instructions."
" When something was strange, everyone thought they had the right to come stomping in all over your life to figure out why. I found that arrogant and infuriating, not to mention a pain in the neck. Sometimes I even wanted to shut them with a shovel to shut them up, like I did that time in elementary school."
QUESTION --- Can anyone PLEASE name any other books with quirky characters like Keiko?