Book Review, Fiction, N2

[N2] コンビニ人間

Furukura Keiko doesn’t really fit into societal standards, but as soon as she steps into her workplace – a smile mart chain convenience store – she is able to fulfill the role of a turning cog in society.

I read this novel by Murata Sayaka as part of the 2022 target language reading challenge by @studywithkat. The February prompt was to read a book with less than 200 pages – so with 151 pages my edition of コンビニ人間 felt like a perfect fit.

Keiko’s describtions of the world around her and her efforts to relate to it, were extremely interesting to read about. While the societal pressures she faces regarding starting a family or working a ‘real job’ were very much relatable to me, Keiko’s reactions to these pressures and her conclusions were rather alienating.

To read the novel more fluently, I tried out the SRS by jpdb for this book. JPDB exstracts vocabulary from Japanese novels, games and textbooks meaning I could quiz myself on the relevant vocabulary, in the exact order in which it appeared in the book. This was a great aid to ease into the story, but after about 30 pages I was so captivated that I read the rest entirely without a dictionary.

Words I looked up and learnt at the beginning all related in some way or another to other people reacting to Keiko:

  • 戸惑(とまど)う = to be bewildered, to be perplexed
  • 困惑(こんわく) = bewilderment, bafflement
  • 不快(ふかい) = discomfort; unpleasantness
  • しどろもどろ = confused
  • 仰天(ぎょうてん) = being horrified, being taken aback
  • 敬遠(けいえん) = avoid something unpleasant; pretending to respect someone by being distant

Having passed N2 a year ago and reading regularly, this book seemed just about a perfect fit for my current Japanese abilities. If you are at a similar level and would like to give it a try, you can order the book here through Amazon Japan (affiliate link).

Length: 151 pages

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