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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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Delightful and eccentric

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

2 people found this helpful

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A gem of a book

Convenience Store Woman is a sneaky great book. It’s very short but is rich with character and ideas that make you feel like you’ve gotten everything you’ve wanted out of it. The book tells the story of a woman who is stuck in life, working a dead end job, but also sort of loves filling that place in society. She’s a complex character dealing with standards put on her by society and her culture. The book explores these themes while still telling a great story, which very few books do that. Enjoy!

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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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  • Arlene Finnigan
  • 01-10-21

Fascinating book

This is a fascinating book. It's never explicitly stated that Keiko, the protagonist, is neurodivergent, but the story follows her attempts to act 'normal' and her family's worries that she'll never be 'cured'. She's judged for not having a 'proper job', for 'only' being a convenience store worker, for being 'weird', for being single. It's a really interesting exploration of society's obsession with conformity and status.

4 people found this helpful

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  • AM
  • 10-28-21

Perfect

Funny and sad, strange and mad. Everything about this is perfect - anyone would wish they'd written it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-22-21

I don't get it, sorry.

Maybe women's brains are built to enjoy books like this and men are hunter gatherers but I've clearly missed something. Not the first time and wont be the last. Narrator was great.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-21

captivating and unusual!

I enjoyed the references to calm Japanese convenience stores in this book! The main character stands out as well written and researched. Some parts are hard to read, listening to the verbal abuse the character is subjected to. very raw and real! A really clever critical view of Japanese societal expectations.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Eilis
  • 11-11-20

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Annie
  • 07-31-20

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Francis
  • 09-08-21

Charming

what a wonderfully charming read! much recommended! it's a quirky little book and really encourages the reader to question why they follow certain societal blueprints. also it asks the reader to examine how we treat those who do not follow this blueprint. great book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-14-21

well written

very interesting exploration of the inner world of a neurodivergent person and their daily struggles in conrforming to society's rules

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sarah Sayeed
  • 03-31-21

such a wonderful story

the narrator was incredible at bringing to life the simple brilliance of the text. a fantastic audio read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert Stitt
  • 11-18-20

interesting ideas about nonconformity

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kate Enright
  • 07-07-20

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jubilee
  • 11-19-21

i guess the story has a moral?

if you enjoy stories about nothing, this won't disappoint. it's essentially a boring personal essay about a woman who is clearly on the spectrum. From about halfway through I started to get really impatient about whether the story was going anywhere, and spoiler alert, it doesn't. There's an insignificant twist that happens way too late and is by that stage, frustrating due to its repetitiveness. the whole story is so repetitive.
There is minor conflict that is interesting for about a minute all up. There is no obstacle in the traditional (and in this case, more satisfying) sense. The entire story is just "my personality is an obstacle", and the attempt at fleshing that out amounts to repeating uninteresting store factoids or observations.

really not worth spending a credit on. it may give some people an insight into how people on the spectrum might view and synthesise the world around them, but it's one long-winded, boring interpretation with so much wasted potential.

really struggled to get through this. came very close to 20 mins from the end and it was the longest 20 minutes of my month. would not revisit if paid.

As an essay to help friends and family better understand neurodivergence of a specific type, this is helpful. As a work of fiction this is boring and frustrating.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-21

Brilliant!

This book is divine. Do not hesitate to listen. You'll be left searching for more from the same author, just as I'm about to do. For anyone that has ever visited Japan, this brings back wonderful memories. I love their convenience stores!

ありがとー ございます ❤

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  • Vanessa
  • 01-04-21

lovely read

loved it, sad but lovely story - follow your heart! Only the reading was a bit American so was hard to visualise the Japanese culture.