SUGOI JAPAN

NOVELS SUGOI 20
CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN AND OTHER STORIES

CONVENIENCE STORE WOMAN AND OTHER STORIES

Sayaka Murata
BUNGEISHUNJU

A thirty-six year old bachelorette who has been working part-time at a convenience store for eighteen years. This story delves into the world of protagonist Keiko and what we consider the boundaries of "normal" and "abnormal."

STORY

Thirty-six year old Keiko is a "convenience store person." For eighteen years since graduating from college, she has worked part-time at a convenience store, offering more prompt and courteous service than anyone out there, arranging the shelves and inventory, and subsisting on meals from goods sold in the shop. This lifestyle gives her peace and tranquility. As she is unable to understand the normal emotions associated with everyday life, the orderly appearance of the convenience store is her only link to how things might work in the wider world. One day, her reality is rocked when Shiraha, who is looking to get married and is just working on the side, joins the workforce.

SUGOI POINT

The life of woman in her late thirties who eschews a corporate job, eschews marriage, and even eschews romantic life to continue working part-time alone is far from normal. And yet Keiko does not find anything the least bit lacking in her life. Outsiders find themselves worrying, getting angry, or even crying on her behalf, so passive is she to events around her. When Keiko's colleague Shiraha loses her job and Keiko decides to test her limits and let her live with her, those around her see her in a new light. She hasn't changed in the slightest, yet people suddenly feel "relieved" for her. The world at large wants to "rescue" solitary and placeless people from themselves, but this can in itself be an outrageous act that robs them of their very sense of place. The concept of "normal" and "abnormal" might be the opposite depending on the shoes you stand in, and this complexity is told through a story which delights in its fascination with convenience stores. The work won the Akutagawa Prize.

DATA

・2016 : Won the 155th "Akutagawa Award".
・Sold over 0.5 million copies (as of 2016) .