Book Review: Convenience Store Woman

Keiko is…strange. She models her speaking patterns after coworkers, has a very specific meal routine, lacks romantic interaction, and believes hitting another child with a shovel is a perfectly reasonable way to end a schoolyard fight. It wouldn’t be my choice of lifestyle, but it works for her. She’s not aiming to climb the corporate ladder and loves that she excels at her Smile Mart responsibilities and has a place there. People count on her and she has a purpose in her own way. But to her friends (…more like acquaintances) and family, that just doesn’t compute. How can you be in your mid-30s and not care that you don’t have a husband, child, or success as defined by social norms?

In Keiko, Japanese author Sayaka Murata has perfectly encapsulated the unsure vibes such a personality gives you. Is she “a little off but means well?” or is she “kinda creepy and maybe sociopathic?” Are we supposed to root for her just as she is or try and get her to act a bit more normal? This book is quirky, eerie, and deadpan.

5 stars

Pair with: A sour beer