2020 Longlist

Convenience Store Woman


Translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori

2020 Longlist

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she obtains a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted. In the store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should present themselves. She copies her co-workers’ and plays the part of a normal person.

Eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only a few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis.

About the Author

Sayaka Murata is one of the most celebrated of the new generation of Japanese writers. She has won not only the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, but the Gunzo, Noma, and Mishima Yukio Prizes as well. Her story, A Clean Marriage, was featured in Granta 127 Japan. She is 36-years-old and works part-time in a convenience store.

Librarian’s Comments

A fine translation illuminates this story of an unmarried Japanese woman who at the deepest level identifies herself as a clerk in a convenience store. Moments of humour and moments of disturbing thought occur throughout. A short read but one which gives non-Japanese readers a deeper understanding of that society. Cape Breton Regional Library, Canada

Very compelling. Keiko’s world is at once highly normal and at the same time highly abnormal. Dunedin Public Libraries, New Zealand

This is a peculiar and unforgettable novel with a main character who navigates humanity with a detached curiosity; A relatable character with realistic obstacles. The Seattle Public Library, USA 






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