No Longer Human

  • by Osamu Dazai
  • Narrated by David Shih
  • 4 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Portraying himself as a failure, the protagonist of Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human narrates a seemingly normal life, even while he feels himself incapable of understanding human beings. Oba Yozo's attempts to reconcile himself to the world around him begin in early childhood, continue through high school, where he becomes a "clown" to mask his alienation, and eventually lead to a failed suicide attempt as an adult. Without sentimentality, he records the casual cruelties of life and its fleeting moments of human connection and tenderness.


What the Critics Say

"The novel has a timeless quality: The struggle of the individual to fit into a normalizing society remains just as relevant today as it was at the time of writing." (The Japan Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Reassuring in its bare-boned humanity

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.
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- Michael - Audible

If Camus was Japanese

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.

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- Katherine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-20-2016
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio