BOOK REVIEW: SAYAKA MURATA – CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN

Today, it’s an exciting post that I can’t wait to share with you! In this post, it’s all about the brilliant novel Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. I raced through this read and I’m still thinking about it.

I remember when this book was first published in the UK – everyone was talking and loving it but I just never got round to getting a copy. But it has recently been re-published in a more compact paperback version (available in three different covers (yellow, light blue, light pink) and I thought I’d pick up a copy. I was struggling to make a decision what colour to go for but I ended up with the bold and beautiful yellow. So, if you haven’t heard of this book, here’s the blurb:

Keiko doesn’t fit in.

She’s thirty-six years old, she’s never had a boyfriend and she’s been working in the same convenience store for eighteen years.

Her parents wish she’d get a better job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married.

But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she’s not going to let anyone take her away from her convenience store…

Sounds… quirky, right? And this is what everyone says about this book: that it’s quirky, weird, hilarious, and it is. I think ultimately, this is a book that readers will make up their own minds on and what they take away from the book. I started this yesterday and I raced through it – it’s only over one hundred and sixty pages so it’s a great quick read if you’re looking for something quick to read. What I loved about it is the social commentary side of it all. How everyone around Keiko tells and expects her to be married to a nice husband, having a good job, having children and not working in the same convenience store that she has been for the last eighteen years… Murata is a brilliant writer and she captures this theme beautifully.

She explores the idea of “normality” and social norms and how Keiko, through her childhood to present day is seen as an outsider always looking in, always influenced by the people around her – from the way they talk to what shops they buy their clothes in. It also explores Keiko being a “foreign object” to society which I found interesting to read. Ultimately, it’s about not fitting in with the norm of society, living life in your own lane, at your own pace and in your own time.

It is a quirky, fun, hilarious read but I found it incredibly moving. There’s a great sadness in the novel and that’s down to everyone telling Keiko how she should live her own life. I loved the glimpses we get from Keiko’s childhood – something I’d love to read more about. I loved the whole convenience store aspect of it, too. It is as though the store itself is a character – a big character at that, too. The big white lights. The signs. The sounds of the shoppers, the staff scanning, the doors whistling… just like Keiko, the store becomes a part of you and you are invested into this world just like she is.

I really enjoyed this book and I can’t believe it took me so long to do so. It’s quirky, funny, hilarious, moving and poignant, too. It’s a great piece of social commentary – how we’re all cogs in society. I loved this particular quote:

It is the start of another day, the time when the world wakes up and the cogs of society begin to move. I am one of those cogs, going round and round. I have become a functioning part of the world, rotating in the time of day called morning.

A truly brilliant book that I’m still thinking about, way after finishing it. I can’t wait to see what Murata writes next and will we get a sequel in the future? As I said above, you can get the new paperback of the book in three different colours: yellow, blue and light pink:

Image result for convenience store woman book

Have you read Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata? What did you think? What colour will you pick? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you,

Corey.

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