Book Review: Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata

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Image belongs to Grove.

Title:   Convenience Store Woman
Author:   Sayaka Murata
Genre:   Fiction
Rating:   3 out of 5

Growing up, Keiko was a strange child. She didn’t react like everyone else—two students fighting, and everyone wants them to stop? Bashing one of them in the head is the solution, right?—and she never understands why her reactions are so wrong. So she learned to mimic everyone around her, creating a nice, normal persona with nice, normal reactions.

For 18 years now, she’s worked part-time at a convenience store. She’s never had a boyfriend. She has only a few friends—who don’t know she’s playing a part. Her family doesn’t understand her. But the routine of the convenience store gives her structure, and the employee handbook gives her rules to follow—she knows the part she must play to look like everyone else.

When she meets a fellow convenience store worker who also doesn’t seem to know how to react, she decides to take action to make everyone finally believe she’s normal once and for all. But will change be for the better?

I’ve been fascinated with Japanese culture since the first time I read Shogun. That’s why I picked this up. However, this book ended up being pretty meh for me. I like feeling a connection with the characters, and I just didn’t get a sense of connection at all. I felt sorry for Keiko, but she felt so distant that I couldn’t really care. (Part of this may be due to the novel being a translation, part to the fact that Keiko may be on the spectrum, so she just isn’t easy to relate to.)

Sayaka Murata is an award-winning Japanese writer. Convenience Store Woman is her newest translated work.

(Galley provided by Grove in exchange for an honest review.)

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata

  1. I wasn’t crazy about this novel either, but most people seem to really like it so I think we’re in the minority. I have Asperger’s Syndrome and I still can’t say I really related to Keiko’s character, but I found her very interesting. It was all the other characters that fell flat for me. Nice review! 🙂

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      1. I don’t necessarily need to connect with a character to like a book (considering that some of the books I like have ‘protagonists’ who are psychopaths, that’s probably a good thing) but I had some other issues with ‘Convenience Store Woman’ that kept me from enjoying it all that much. On the up side, I read it in two days so I guess it kept my interest. 🙂

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  2. I don’t have to *like* a character, but it’s helpful if I’m interested enough in them to care what happens to them or what they do (for those psychopath characters you mentioned). I did really like that it was a quick read. I probably wouldn’t have finished it otherwise.

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