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Sayaka Murata Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Convenience Store Woman (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Sayaka Murata is a well-known author from Japan, who is famous for writing short stories, dystopia, and science fiction stories. She is particularly popular for writing the book called Convenience Store Woman, which was originally written in Japanese and later translated into English. Murata has won the Mishima Yukio Award, the Gunzo Prize, the Akutagawa Prize, and the Noma Literary Prize. Author Murata was born on August 14, 1979, in Inzai, Chiba, Japan. As a child, she had a lot of interest in reading mystery and science fiction novels. She used to borrow the books from her mother and brother and spend large hours reading them. During the 4th grade of her elementary school, Murata tried to write a story and presented it to her parents. Seeing her passion and dedication towards writing, her mother gifted her a word processor in order to help her in improving her writing skills.

Following her middle school graduation in Inzai, Murata’s parents shifted to Tokyo. There, she completed her high school education from the Kashiwa High School and then attended the Tamagawa University for further education. Murata announced her arrival in the literary world with her 2003 novel called Jyunyu, which was translated for the English readers and given the title, Breastfeeding. This book helped her win the Gunzo Prize in the category of New Writers. After this, Murata wrote several other novels and short stories with moderate success. In 2013, her novel “Shiro iro no machi no sono hone no taion no” won the prestigious Mishima Yukio Prize. Murata came up with her tenth novel in 2016 and named it Konbini Ningen. For this book, Murata was awarded the popular Akutagawa Prize, thereby increasing her popularity even further.

This novel went on to sell more than 600,000 printed copies in Japan alone. In 2018, it became the first book of author Murata to be translated into the English language. Following the immense success of this novel, Murata was named as one of the Women of the Year by Vogue Japan. Throughout her literary career, author Murata has worked in a convenience store in Tokyo as a part-time clerk. The critics have said that Murata has a unique touch in her writing style that makes her novel very interesting to read. Through her writing, she likes to explore the various consequences of the nonconformities in the society for men & women, with regard to parenthood, sex, and gender roles in particular. She says that she has taken up many of the character backstories and themes in her stories from the daily observations that she comes across while working as a part-time worker in a convenience store.

Several of Murata’s works have recurring themes on the topics of sexlessness’ societal acceptance in different forms like asexuality, voluntary celibacy, involuntary celibacy, especially in marriages. Author Murata is also famous for frankly depicting adolescent sexuality in her work as seen in the society. Because of her unusual writing style and her ability to penetrate deep into the contemporary female psychology’s recesses, Murata is regarded as a rising female writer of this generation. In one of her interviews, Murata has said that her parents don’t like to read her books because of their sexual content. She believes that they might be right in their own sense and also acknowledges the fact that her comfort levels on this subject are not shared universally. Her friends are not able to digest the fact that she could write extreme stuff like this.

A common subject of her novels appears to be the dysfunctional naughty bits of Japan. For exploring such subjects, Murata likes to visit real locations and observe the things happening around. This helps her to unravel the subjects with ease and depict them in her stories. BY winning the Akutagawa award, Murata joined the ranks of some of the most prominent authors of Japan of all time, including Ryu Murakami, Shusaku Endo, and Kenzaburo Oe. Murata thinks that she is a very positive person, but her books tell a different story altogether. Her descriptions are always charged with societal insights and burning satire that suggest that she is surrounded by too much of negativity around her. The success of Murata seems more remarkable due to the fact that she actually toiled for nearly 2 decades and lived the life of the central character in one of her books. Author Murata hopes to continue writing interesting stories as long as she can and keep entertaining her readers for many more years to come.

A very successful book written by author Sayaka Murata in her career is entitled ‘Convenience Store Woman’. It was first released by the Bungeushunju publication in 2016 in Japanese and then the Portobello Books and Grove Press released the English translations in the UK and US respectively. This book captures the working atmosphere of a convenience store that is very much a part of the life of the Japanese people. Author Murata has mentioned the lead character in the book in the role of Keiko Furukura. At the story’s beginning, it is described that Keiko Furukura was seen as a strange kid by her parents. They always worried about how she is going to face the challenging world. When Keiko Furukura decides to start working at a convenience store while still pursuing her studies at the university, her parents become very happy for her. They think that the experience of this job will prepare her to deal with the outside world.

Keiko finds the job very easy as she doesn’t have to do anything outside of the manual provided by the store. The manual tells the workers everything about their respective jobs, including how they should act in front of the customers and how they should interact, etc. Keiki Furukura becomes smart at the job with each passing day as she copies the dressing style of her coworkers as well as their speech patterns. This way, he hopes she will be able to act like a normal person. But, before she realizes what she has landed herself into, she ends up spending 18 precious years of her life. After so many years, Keiki is still employed at the same post, didn’t have any boyfriend, and has the company of very few friends. She feels this kind of life is quite comfortable for her, but she also knows at the back of her mind that she has not been able to perform as per the society’s expectations. This becomes a matter of greater worry for Keiki’s parents. After some time, a man comes to work with Keiki at the store. His life story seems very similar to that of Keiki’s, as a result, the two start bonding very well.

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