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My girlfriend (who is French) gave this to me in book form for my birthday, and then I realized that Audible recently added it so I secretly listened to it instead.
I joke with her a lot about her French philosophical perspectives, you know 'laissez-faire', 'je ne sais pas' type stuff. And she talks a lot about the cultural differences between France and the States, especially when it comes to socializing. She refers to the social scene in the States as "The Masquerade", which I feel is pretty accurate.
Anyway! I should have expected this book would make some sort of Albert Camus-esque social commentary, but since it's from a Japanese author I didn't immediately jump to that conclusion. But it boy o boy is it similar, just like the other reviewer mentioned.
I think it really works in its own way though. Osamu Dazai gives his character a nagging need that is compelling and drives both the conflict and the unnerving ennui-imbued voice throughout.
There is something reassuring about getting inside the head of someone so troubled about their social identity. The struggle is intensely, intimately relateable, and that I think, is what great writing is about. It helps ease some of the larger existential anxiety, because you get the feeling that you aren't the only one.
There is a good amount of misogyny in this book though. While it is framed in the perspective of an admittedly perverted and "broken" young man, it still toes a line.
Also, as a Japanese book, translated into English and narrated by what sounds like an American, you can't really ask for a better performance.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up No Longer Human in three words, what would they be?
Camus in Japan
What other book might you compare No Longer Human to and why?
The Stranger. Our protagonist feels disconnected from humanity, leading him down a path of self destruction
If you could take any character from No Longer Human out to dinner, who would it be and why?
UGH... none... I'd be afraid of being hit up for a heavy bar tab... or worse.
Any additional comments?
It's a punch in the gut that you are glad you received. Like Trainspotting, this is not something for when you are depressed. But it is a ride I highly encourage everybody take.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
i am surprised and glad an audiobook was produced of No Longer Human in English in 2016. i for more japanese literature of this period is produced at such a high quality.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful