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A sense of living in a time when the world is dying

Convenience Store Woman
How can the story of a grocery store employee capture so many readers worldwide?

Before I went to Japan this summer, I was fully aware that the Japanese are an arid people who work from morning to evening. What surprised me, on the other hand, were the many idiot jobs: A man at the airport standing with a dishcloth and wiping tiles one at a time; a man holding a bag for the shoes that must not stand on the floor; the girl who smiles at the fall and says goodbye and goodbye; the man in the hat by the garden in the Imperial Palace who hands me a piece that will not be used for anything and which I give him again when I leave the garden. The examples of small forms of activity that actually make it look like a job seem endless. Something's wrong, or there's something I haven't figured out. That's why it was actually a bit of a scoop when I fell over Japanese writer Sayaka Murata's little novel Convenience Store Woman. At once criticism of modern working life and painful. . .

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Alexander Carnera
Carnera is a freelance writer living in Copenhagen.

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