Convenience Store Woman
|Translator||Ginny Tapley Takemori|
Convenience Store Woman (コンビニ人間 Konbini Ningen) is a Japanese novel written by Sayaka Murata. It captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. The novel won the Akutagawa Prize in 2016. Aside from her job as a writer, Murata worked at the convenience store three times a week, basing her novel on her experiences. Originally published in 2016 by Bungeishunjū, an English-language translation by Ginny Tapley Takemori was released by Grove Press (US) and Portobello Books (UK) in 2018.
Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so that she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis.
Murata herself works at a convenience store on a part-time basis.
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- Kikuchi, Daisuke (July 20, 2016). "Convenience store worker who moonlights as an author wins prestigious Akutagawa Prize". The Japan Times. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- 文藝春秋. Japan: 文藝春秋. September 2016.
- Lau, Joyce (2018-07-06). "Convenience Store Woman". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2018-11-05.