Goodreads blurb: “She found sanctuary in a supermarket. Now she’s about to lose it.
Keiko isn’t normal. At school and university, people find her odd, and her family worries she will never fit in. To make them happy, Keiko takes a job at a newly opened convenience store where she finds peace and purpose in simple daily tasks.
But in Keiko’s circle it just won’t do for an unmarried woman to spend her time stacking shelves and ordering green tea. As the pressure to find a new job – or worse, a husband – increases, Keiko is forced to take desperate action…”
This was a enjoyable novella translated from Japanese.
I really liked Keiko and could empathise with her desire to be in a job where everything ran like clockwork and she knew her place amongst the staff. She enjoyed the routine and the sounds and sights of the convenience store and felt that’s where she belonged in life. I felt so sorry for her when she felt an outsider in her family because she reacted literally to things as a child, because she didn’t understand the social norms. I thought she was very clever to subtly copy her colleagues speech and habits so she could fit in with them, rather wallow in being an outsider.
I read this book as not just story but also as a comment on social norms in Japan, and the rest of the world, where you must be married and have a proper job to be accepted as normal. You couldn’t be single, in a simple job where you were happy but had to be married have children and make lots of money.
A book to definitely make you think about what life is about and what it really should be about.
Thanks to NetGalley and Granta Publications Portobello Books for my digital ARC.