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Convenience Store Woman

Narrated by: Nancy Wu
Length: 3 hrs and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Tokyo resident Keiko Furukara has never fit in - neither in her family, nor in school - but when at the age of 18 she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of national convenience store chain Smile Mart, she realizes instantly that she has found her purpose in life. Delighted to be able to exist in a place where the rules of social interaction are crystal clear (many are laid out line-by-line in the store's manual), Keiko does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and mode of speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a "normal" person excellently, more or less.

Keiko is the perfect employee - never late, always worrying about how to maximize sales, brilliantly conscientious, and highly energetic. Managers come and go but Keiko remains at the store for 18 years. It's almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. At 36, Keiko is very happy in her life, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, pressure her to settle down with a man and to find a proper profession. Eventually, she is pushed to make a huge change. The static world of Keiko is upended - but will it be for the better?

A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and an extraordinary world, Convenience Store Woman is both an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

©2018 Sayaka Murata and Ginny Tapley Takemori (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Alienation in a compact novel

As I read this book, I kept thinking that the convenience store is a metaphor for the alienating world of social isolation. The author portrays that alienation very well through a social misfit that seems unable to live in the "real" world. I enjoyed this book a lot, but it is not for everyone. The narration by Nancy Wu is perfect.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • RueRue
  • 2018-08-03

Quirky and original

I really enjoyed this quirky and dark-humored story. The main character, Keiko, is so bizarre and original. There isn't much of a plot, but it's a fascinating look at societal expectations. Nancy Wu did an excellent job narrating.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Louise
  • 2018-08-07

So good

Easy listening from the point of view of a woman with asperger syndrome. I love the book and the look into Japanese culture especially regarding single women. I especially love the ending.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • OwlLover
  • 2018-09-27

Odd, yet realistic

This is the story of a strangd young woman. Something is a bit off about her, as though she is missing a few of the moving parts for her humanity to work. She makes herself into a machine, only giving herself exactly what she needs to function in the very specific role of a convenience store worker, and adopting parts of other people to male herself more real(istic). It is as though she is merely masquerading as a human. As odd as she is, the story is believable and quite compelling. I wanted to know what would happen to next and, ultimately, what would become of her. The narration is great and works well for the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-06-21

cute, and quirky

It was an easy listen. Something you can listen to as you wash dishes or do choirs. The book itself was rather quirky. Two strange people find themselves and try to pull of being normal humans and abide by society rules. You sympathize with the protagonist and also are happy with how she herself knows were she belongs.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tsara Vandercross
  • 2019-06-16

A unique tale of finding your place in life

Nancy Wu is a wonderful narrator. Her voice lends itself to the story, helping draw you in . I have, basically, no criticism to say for the narration at all.

The story is pretty good. It's interesting to think about things from our main characters perspective. A lot of this story is exactly like we have seen things to be in Japanese convenience stores. They have their speech that feel s very rehearsed. The store is typically stocked really nicely and there is usually some food promotion that is going on.

The reason for me marking this as only 3 stars is because of how the author decided to make the behaviors of the primary male figure. While I understand that there are people that can behave that way, and perhaps there are more of them in Japan, having the main character treat his behaviors like there isn't anything wrong with them strikes as a tad unbelievable. For example, if someone told you that you were to ugly to sleep with, would you invite them to move in with you? How about after they continue to remind you that you are just a burden on society because you are to old to have children? Still would move in with them?

I still did enjoy this book though and do recommend reading it if you'd like a glimpse in to konbini life in Japan.

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  • D.R.
  • 2019-04-10

Am amazing and different story

I wasn't sure about this book at first but the description gave it promise. the story was so much better than I thought. for a short story I was so engaged that I was even getting angry with one of the characters lol. I don't know enough about autism or people of the spectrum to say that the main character is but she does sound like descriptions I have heard about people that are. definitely give it listen. the narrator was so good with the different voices!!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Pamela
  • 2019-03-01

Unusual and entertaining novella

This book is unlike anything I'd listened to before. It seems to fit the trend of books with quirky, somewhat unlikable narrators who appear to be on the spectrum and who learn to connect to the world, like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine or Britt-Marie Was Here. Yet this narrator is stranger and does nothing to ingratiate herself to readers. Perhaps because of this, she is a more interesting, and the setting of the Japanese convenience store adds to the overall sense of delving into a very particular world. The narrator does a great job bringing this character to life, and I felt transported by the story. I recommend this for the novelty of it, particularly for readers interested in contemporary Japan.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Reem
  • 2019-02-26

Fun and Thought Provoking

A sympathetic and heroic story of one of society's undesirables who dared to do things her own way. I think this book is often misunderstood as a twisted love letter to Capitalism. I think its actually a story about living intentionally and purposefully even if it follows the values and insights of a functionally autistic middle aged woman.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-02-10

Fairly entertaining

Overall I thought the storyline was very insistent on a singular theme that was not profound enough to feel satisfying. The main character was very likable and I liked the parts of the story showcasing her talents as a convenience store employee. The other characters seemed two dimensional. I think the story succeeds overall as a short novella.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-01-09

Funny, but not what I was expecting

I liked the humor used throughout. Story development and progression left something to be desired.