What Our Staff Says:
“Keiko is like a lot of us. You may find yourself deeply understanding her at times and others you couldn’t be more unlike her. Like how did she stay a convenience store worker for 18 years?! She knows her convenience store so well that she hears its rhythmic routines pacing her every thought. She feels perfectly content in her mundane routines but other times her more relatable nature shows. Keiko feels an unmistakable guilt for not meeting her societal obligations. Nagging sisters. Missed connections with parents. Service industry work. These are the themes that made this book such an unexpected delight. ‘Convenience Store Woman’ gave me a new cultural perspective from the point of view of single, middle aged, Japanese service worker, Keiko.”
What the Publisher Says:
The English-language debut of an exciting young voice in international fiction, selling 660,000 copies in Japan alone, Convenience Store Woman is a bewitching portrayal of contemporary Japan through the eyes of a single woman who fits into the rigidity of its work culture only too well.
The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most talented contemporary writers, selling over 650,000 copies there, Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction—many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual—and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…
A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.