Title: Convenience Store Women
Author: Sayaka Murata – translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Page Count: 163
‘Haunting, dark and often hilarious’The fibs on the front of the Convenience Store Woman
Everyone said the Convenient Store Woman was
the greatest book known to man. I found it boring. It’s nice, but not groundbreaking and I was convinced we’d get more of a resolution at the end.
(Spoiler – you don’t)
Perhaps I’m dead inside. Perhaps I just ‘didn’t get it’, or perhaps my humour, haunting or dark detection switch was set to off that day, but Convenience Store Woman wanders its way into the meh-you’re-alright-but-also-totally-average pile.
First thing – Japanese culture is a bit of a mind-melt, but it feels like there’s an excellent story in there just waiting to come bursting out, but it never happens. This could have been the perfect time to tackle some of the pressures the Japanese might feel when it comes to conforming, yet it danced around the taboo subject leaving me feeling shortchanged.
Shit sandwich time.
The bread (the good bit):
This is insanely easy to read. It’s 163 pages of pretty large text so you’ll fly through it and not be mad when you get to the end because you’ve not sunk MONTHS of your life into it. You can get through this in one day with snack breaks easily.
The mushy pea filling (the nasty bit)
I wanted more. I hate mushy peas but, in this sandwich, I just wanted to be given a little more and dive into some of the societal issues that had been plonked on our plate. Instead, I was left with a collection of questions, characters I didn’t much like (looking at you, Shiraha, you prick) and mad that there wasn’t just a little more.
The bread (the other good bit)
If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong in the world or have been pressured into doing things because of ‘social norms’ (urgh), then this might be right up your street. Keiko attempted to be ‘normal’ to appease her shitty family but, realistically, this just made her miserable and wasn’t the life she wanted to lead.
This isn’t a terrible book by any stretch. It’s just not the book I’d hoped it would be.