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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
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Convenience Store Woman

$4.99 USD

Retail price (USD): $16.95

Sale price (USD): $4.99

Discount: 71%

This title is not eligible for purchase with membership credits. Why?

Narrator Nancy Wu
Translator Ginny Tapley Takemori
Length 3 hours 21 minutes
Language English
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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 a job in a convenience store while at the university, they are delighted. For her part, she finds a predictable world in the convenience store, 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 thirty-six, 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, 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―but will it be for the better?

Sayaka Murata brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much a part of life in Japan. With some laugh-out-loud moments prompted by the disconnect between Keiko’s thoughts and those of the people around her, she provides a sharp look at Japanese society and the pressure to conform, as well as penetrating insights into the female mind.

Convenience Store Woman is a fresh, charming portrait of an unforgettable heroine that recalls Banana Yoshimoto, Han Kang, and Amélie.

Sayaka Murata is one of Japan’s most exciting contemporary writers. She herself still works part time in a convenience store, which was the inspiration to write Convenience Store Woman, her English-language debut and winner of one of Japan’s most prestigious literary prizes, the Akutagawa Prize. Her work has appeared in Freeman’s, Granta, and elsewhere.

Nancy Wu has narrated audiobooks since 2004, winning three AudioFile Earphones Awards. A New York theater, television, and film actor, she has recorded in studios all over the world—from Italy to Switzerland to Thailand. Her credits include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Hope & Faith, All My Children, Made for Each Other, and the Oscar-nominated film Frozen River.

Ginny Tapley Takemori has translated works by more than a dozen Japanese writers, including Ryu Murakami. She lives at the foot of a mountain in Eastern Japan.

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“Narrator Nancy Wu gives Keiko a doll-like voice, a funny mix of mechanical and childishness that aptly captures the character’s otherness.”

“Quirky Keiko Furukura comes to awkward life in Nancy Wu’s hilarious narration…an energetic delivery that keeps listeners engaged from the first chapter…Wu has us laughing out loud, especially at Keiko’s unexpected forays into love. This is a rollicking story…paired with a narrator who can maximize the characters’ discomfort for our humor.”

“A weird and wonderful and deeply satisfying book.”

"Brilliant, witty, and sweet…[Keiko’s] story of conforming for convenience (literally) is one that women all over the world know all too well.”

“Written in plain-spoken prose, the slim volume focuses on a character who in many ways personifies a demographic panic in Japan.”

“[Keiko] is an anti-Bartleby, abandoning any shred of identity outside of her work…The book itself is tranquil—dreamy, even—rooting for its employee-store romance from the bottom of its synthetic heart.”

“Getting to hear the Irasshaimase! greetings sprinkled throughout…with their proper Japanese inflection is one key to this audiobook’s excellence. But Nancy Wu’s bright, emotionally detached reading of protagonist Miss Furukura is what transforms the book into a harrowing look inside a potential sociopath’s mind.”

“[In this] small, elegant, and deadpan novel from Japan, a woman senses that society finds her strange, so she culls herself from the herd before anyone else can do it…[An] offbeat exploration of what we must each leave behind to participate in the world.”

“Murata herself spent years as a convenience store employee. And one pleasure of this book is her detailed portrait of how such a place actually works. Yet the book’s true brilliance lies in Murata’s way of subverting our expectations.”

“A hilarious novel…Convenience Store Woman mocks the culture of work, the employee’s devotion to their patron saint, and pokes fun at the conservative mindset. For what is a young woman worth if she has neither professional ambition nor a desire to get married?”

“A love story pulled out of the deep-freeze shelves of the heart…True love is the simple and beautiful moral of this unusual yet uplifting story.”

“A spare, quietly brilliant novel…Though she feels like the odd one out, it’s her frank appraisal of the systems of the world that reveals the absurdity of everyone else.”

“Magical…Sayaka Murata has written the 7-11 Madame Bovary….This is a love story. Only the love affair here is between a woman and the convenience store in which she works.”

“Murata’s brilliant Convenience Store Woman…has been seen as a Gothic romance between a ‘misfit and a store’ and as…an artful grotesque of modern personal branding.”

“A hilariously deadpan, absurdist send-up of rigorous social norms in aging, postwar Japan…Keiko’s fidelity to her role as a cog in the machine is put to the test and the result is as quietly unsettling as any one of Kafka’s short stories.”

“Stunning…This is a moving, funny, and unsettling story about how to be a ‘functioning adult’ in today’s world.”

“A dazzling English-language debut in a crisp translation by Takemori, rich in scathingly entertaining observations on identity, perspective, and the suffocating hypocrisy of ‘normal’ society.”

“While Murata’s novel focuses on life in Japanese culture, her storytelling will resonate with all people and experiences.”

“Murata skillfully navigates the line between the book’s wry and weighty concerns and ensures readers will never conceive of the ‘pristine aquarium’ of a convenience store in quite the same way. A unique and unexpectedly revealing English language debut.”

“Quirky, deadpan, poignant, and quietly profound, it is a gift to anyone who has ever felt at odds with the world.”

“A haunting, dark, and often hilarious take on society’s expectations of the single woman. As an extra bonus, it totally transformed my experience of going to convenience stores in Tokyo.”

“I was really amazed by Convenience Store Woman and the particular reality it exquisitely portrays.”

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