Convenience Store Woman : #JapaneseLit ★★★.5

“I wished I was back in the convenience store where I was valued as a working member of staff and things weren’t as complicated as this. Once we donned our uniforms, we were all equals regardless of gender, age, or nationality— all simply store workers.” – Sayaka Murata

  • It is a short, quirky and idiosyncratic story with its set of blemishes.
  • The protagonist Keiko won’t leave you easily. Though she may not be very relatable you would want to read about her more to get some insights on how she functions.
  • Keiko is socially oblivious yet she makes multiple attempts to fit into the same ‘social circle’ by imitating others.
  • The circle of life surpassing the challenges we face in order to become who we are is aptly described by the author.
  • In short, it is highly recommended.

Keiko proposes an alternate status quo unintentionally

As the novel progresses, we come across situations when Keiko handles things not in the preferred manner but in her own strange way. She remains a misfit as she fails to adhere to the status quo by neither wanting to get married nor having any aspirations career wise. Not that she had the understanding of seeking different things in life but she didn’t quite feel the need to be anything other than a convenience store woman. Being at the convenience store, gives her an identity and she has never known how to become anyone else.

The convenience store is everything for Keiko

Keiko’s obsession to the store is beyond any worldly description. She finds joy in every little sound she hears in the store. She gets up in the morning, eats healthy, takes care of herself in every possible manner only to be at the convenience store. By being a convenience store woman she has a blueprint for life which she diligently follows.

Sayaka Murata’s expression is very refreshing

The entire narrative is very monotonic in expression. Even Keiko’s thoughts seems robotic let alone her day to day life. You would feel bad for her for not having the same sense of feeling like ordinary people to the extent that you might start considering her autistic which we never know.


This book is a page-turner, enjoyable and you would probably read in one go but there are moments of complete bewilderment as well. You would ask yourselves many whys before you would start seeing things the way the author wants us to see. Some plots could have been explored but I guess the mystery is what Murata wanted to create which she did quite well. Overall, it is a must-read.

Happy Reading,
Mini

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If you consider getting a copy after reading this post, please buy it from Amazon.

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