Convenience Store Woman NPR coverage of Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata and Ginny Tapley Takemori. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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Convenience Store Woman

by Sayaka Murata and Ginny Tapley Takemori

Hardcover, 163 pages, Pgw, List Price: $20 |

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Convenience Store Woman
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Sayaka Murata and Ginny Tapley Takemori

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Book Summary

A Japanese woman who has been working at a convenience store for 18 years, much to the disappointment of her family, finds friendship with an alienated, cynical and bitter young man who becomes her coworker.

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NPR stories about Convenience Store Woman

2 First-Rate Novels Celebrate The Humor And Heroism Of Unconventional Women

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Convenience Store Woman

My present self is formed almost completely of the people around me. I am currently made up of 30 percent Mrs. Izumi, 30 percent Sugawara, 20 percent the manager, and the rest absorbed from past colleagues such as Sasaki, who left six months ago, and Okasaki, who was our supervisor until a year ago.

My speech is especially inflected by everyone around me and is currently a mix of that of Mrs. Izumi and Sugawara. I think the same goes for most people. When some of Sugawara's band members came into the store recently they all dressed and spoke just like her. After Mrs. Izumi came, Sasaki started sounding just like her when she said, "Good job, see you tomorrow!" Once a woman who had gotten on well with Mrs. Izumi at her previous store came to help out, and she dressed so much like Mrs. Izumi I almost mistook the two. And I probably infect others with the way I speak too. Infecting each other like this is how we maintain ourselves as human is what I think.

Outside work Mrs. Izumi is rather flashy, but she dresses the way normal women in their thirties do, so I take cues from the brand of shoes she wears and the label of the coats in her locker. Once she left her makeup bag lying around in the back room and I took a peek inside and made a note of the cosmetics she uses. People would notice if I copied her exactly, though, so what I do is read blogs by people who wear the same clothes she does and go for the other brands of clothes and kinds of shawls they talk about buying. Mrs. Izumi's clothes, accessories, and hairstyles always strike me as the model of what a woman in her thirties should be wearing.

As we were chatting in the back room, her gaze suddenly fell on the ballet flats I was wearing. "Oh, those shoes are from that shop in Omotesando, aren't they? I like that place too. I have some boots from there." In the back room she speaks in a languid drawl, the end of her words slightly drawn out. I bought these flats after checking the brand name of the shoes she wears for work while she was in the toilet.