I found this image disconcerting to begin with, and wondered how it was going to relate to the story.
So now I’ve finished the story, I am still wondering what it means.
Does it represent the Konbini? Society? What is it actually trying to convey?
Feel free to enlighten me, or at least share some random thoughts on the matter.
Well… To me, this image represents 恵子’s existence. She’s quite inscrutable, at least to the people that surround her…and even to herself to some degree. The thick, seemingly impenetrable wall represents that inscrutability. When forced, she tries to express herself to others, but it comes out awkwardly, surprisingly, abruptly, inappropriately, frighteningly, etc. or some combination of all these things. These are represented by the various things sticking out. She’s let some people in to observe (are those 白羽’s legs sticking out at the bottom front corner?) but how much insight into her do they really get?
I don’t know, really. That’s just how the image strikes me after finishing the book.
I found this book engrossing and very moving. It was sad, but I loved the ending. So glad 恵子 found herself. First time I’ve read a Japanese adult book in its entirety. It was hard, but well worth the effort. I’m very grateful to whomever chose it. It has been a terrific experience to read along with all of you. I’ve appreciated your insights and help with understanding some difficult passages.
Amazon regularly recommends this book to me but I don’t like the (English translation) cover art at all so I never click on it. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but it’s so twee and I have a low tolerance for twee. This post made me decide to look into it. I think I’d like to read it. I’ll try to when my Japanese improves.
Remind me of the recurring description in the book of the コンビニ as a bright lit aquarium. Also it’s interesting how they worked around the difficult translation of the title コンビニ人間 by just calling it “Konbini”. The English title “Convenience Store Woman” is easier to understand, but it’s too bad how the meaning of 人間 got lost by using Woman instead.
I’ve heard that people who design book covers usually haven’t read the book. Their job is to sell the book, not represent the book authentically, after all. The cover might really mean nothing!! But I think it’s still neat to see what some of the readers here interpret even if that’s the case. @debido’s comment is especially interesting to me.
I follow a few Japanese people who post book pictures on instagram and I always think their book covers are so much more appealing to me. Sometimes they post a book that I have translated into English and I think “no fair, mine has an ugly cover!!”. Mine will just have some literal representation of Japan to let the reader know the book is Japanese. It seems, and I haven’t done any real research into this and I may be wrong, Japanese covers are more likely to convey a theme of the book in some abstract representation. The Japanese book cover kind of reminds me of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, just thinking about the memorial’s architectural concept. The intention of the memorial (I’ve had to read millions of academic articles about this memorial so I’m aware of criticism against it) was to give feelings of isolation, disorientation and distress that increase as you walk through it, which the architect apparently thought would be more powerful than giving a literal representation of the Holocaust. My comment may seem like it took a strange turn but what I’m saying is maybe it isn’t supposed to represent anything in particular but make the reader feel a sense of isolation and off-kilterness (I don’t think that’s a word), which I think are themes in the book (but I haven’t read it DX). Apparently she doesn’t know how to conform to social expectations but she mimics others, so maybe it isn’t really a representation of the convenience store or society but that particular feeling.
About the onigiri cover, if I think of a Japanese convenience store, onigiri probably really are the first thing that I think of. But that photo isn’t a convenience store onigiri. I think an artist could have done something more interesting (interesting to me personally, I guess XD) with the pre-packaged onigiri lined up on a shelf. That cover makes me think of a Japanese version of Amelie with a quirky gal working in a whimsical convenience store which apparently isn’t how the book is. I guess it’s more along the lines of a Yoko Ogawa story? I didn’t read the book yet so maybe this whole comment was pointless!!