Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata (author), Ginny Tapley Takemori (translator), Nancy Wu (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, ISBN 9781538584552, June 2018 (original publication July 2016)

Keiko Furukara is thirty-six years old, and was a misfit everywhere, in her family and at school, until at the age of eighteen she began working in a new branch of national convenience store chain Smile Mart. The store employee manual gives her a set of rules. The uniform relieves issues of how to dress during the work day. Her coworkers provide her with examples of how to talk--and what to appear excited, happy, or angry about. She learns the rhythms and needs of the store, and even working only part-time, she becomes the store's best worker, and outlasts fellow part-timers and a total of seven managers. She's on her eighth manager when she realizes her family and her small number of friends are really worried about her, and want her to adopt a more normal, and to their minds happier, lifestyle.

She starts to realize that this time, they're not letting up. And that she's only going to be able to do convenience store work as long as she stays fit and healthy, something that is only partly in her control.

There are also some strange things happening in the store. One of them is a man her own age, a new employee, who looks down on convenience store work, but can't hold any other job because of his own peculiar attitude. His situation is even less socially acceptable than Keiko's, and his own family is far less tolerant.

Will Keiko find a way to fit in, or will she find a way to embrace who she is?

The story is engaging, funny, and sometimes disturbing, but I couldn't help rooting for Keiko.


I bought this audiobook.

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