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Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
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Men Without Women (2014)

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (20)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (2)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This was my introduction to Murakami, and it wasn't what I expected. Everyone I know who is interested in the same sort of literature I read recommends Murakami, but most of them discuss his magical realism. There is some of that on display here, but it is not the focus of this collection of stories. Instead, the stories focus on men who have varying relationships with women, most of them involving loss at some point in some form, but not necessarily men who don't have women. In fact, some of the men seem to have more women than the norm. Perhaps I would view this book differently if I were, in fact, a man (with or without a woman), but overall, I find many of them puzzling. Still, they were well written, easy to read, and held my interest, which is always a good recommendation for any work of literature. The open, blatant misogyny in one of the early stories was offputting, but other than that instance, I found little to truly dislike about this work, and a lot to like. I will probably pursue more Murakami if he can move his way up through my massive book collection to the top of the pile to be read. ( )
  Devil_llama | Jun 27, 2019 |
Short stories, including one reread for me (Samsa in Love).

I feel like every time I review a Murakami book I write the same thing, but here it is anyway: I really enjoyed this for reasons I don't understand, but also it made me wonder if Murakami has ever met a woman in his life. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
I'm a huge fan of Haruki Murakami, and have read all but one or two of his books. This one didn't much do it for me, but I think the problem was more with me than with Murakami. At the moment, I'm finding myself in a place where I could use more fluff and less about screwed up young men. I'm especially in a place where the sexual fantasies and hang-ups of young men aren't of much interest to me. I admit to being an elderly, repressed Calvinist, and I wasn't able to set that part of me aside while I was reading these seven stories. I'd read several of these stories previously, probably in The New Yorker, or some such place. I think I liked them better then, but then the reading was a one-off thing, not a whole series. So, I'm suggesting one reads this collection a story at a time, with much other stuff in between revisits to this collection. At least that's what I'd have done, were I not under the gun, so to speak, to get the book read before its library due date.

Having written more-or-less of a downer of a review, no one should go to his grave without having read Murakami, and this is as good a place to begin as anywhere else. ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
Haruki Murakami is one of the most interesting writers I have encountered over the last decade. He tells interesting stories, and I always feel as though I am sitting in an easy chair as he spins another fantastic yarn. His prose is simple and to the point. He uses ordinary language, and following his threads is always absorbing. I have had a hard time putting aside any of his stories regardless of length. His latest novel, Men without Women is a case in point.

My first encounter with Murakami occurred when I came across a novel with an intriguing title: Kafka on the Shore. Other equally fascinating titles are 1Q84, Norwegian Wood, and The Strange Library. Men without Women belongs in this category to be admired, ruminated over, and reread. His descriptions of characters reveal the deepest of emotions that a man can experience when he has lost a love, or a friend. I find pieces of his puzzles fit nicely into my experiences.

This collection contains seven stories, and it is impossible to pick a favorite—they are all my favorites. In “Drive My Car,” Kafuku hires a peculiar woman to act as his chauffeur. Murakami writes, “Kafuku seldom drew distinctions between men and women in his daily life. Nor was he apt to perceive any difference in ability between the sexes. There were as many women as men in his line of work, and he actually felt more at ease working with women. For the most part, women played closer attention to details, and they listened well. The only problem occurred when he got in a car and found a woman beside him with her hands on the steering wheel. That he found impossible to ignore. Yet he had never voiced his opinion on the matter to anyone. Somehow the topic seemed inappropriate” (5). In the story, “An Independent Organ,” Mr. Tanimura plays squash with a doctor friend, who suddenly passed away. Goto breaks the news to Tanimura. Murakami writes, “As we were saying goodbye he said, ‘Mr Tanimura, I know this is an imposition, but I have a favor to ask. Please remember Dr. Tokai. He had such a pure heart. I think that what we can do for those who’ve passed on is keep them in our memories as long as we can. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. I can’t just ask anyone to do that.” // You’re absolutely right, I told him. Remembering someone for a long time is not as easy as people think. I’ll try to remember him as long as I can, I promised. I had no way to decide how pure Dr. Tokai’s heart really was, but it was true he was no ordinary person, and certainly someone worth remembering. We shook hands and said goodbye” (111).
In the title story, “Men without Women,” a man was woken at one A.M. Murakami writes, “A man’s low voice informed me that a woman had vanished from this world forever. The voice belonged to the woman’s husband. At least that is what he said. And he went on. ‘My wife committed suicide last Wednesday,’ he said. ‘In any case, I thought I should let you know. In any case. As far as I could make out, there was not a drop of emotion in his voice. It was like he was reading lines meant for a telegram, with barely any space at all between each word. An announcement, pure and simple. Unadorned reality. Period” (212).

This fascinating collection of stories—Men without Women by Haruki Murakami—is a great introduction to Japanese literature. 5 stars.

--Chiron, 8/8/18 ( )
  rmckeown | Sep 14, 2018 |
Seven short stories about... "men without women." These stories have an Asian cultural slant that I think I understand a little better by having lived a couple of years in Korea. I believe there is a general acceptance in Asia of the common humanity that we share with our sexual counterparts. At least that's what I feel as a Westener. All the stories seem to share an awe for the mystery of our existence, a respect for human dignity, and the role of love and absence.
  Kevin.Bokay | Aug 5, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gabriel, PhilipTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goossen, TedTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gräfe, UrsulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Based on the many times he had ridden in cars driven by women, Kafuku had reached the conclusion that most female drivers fell into one of two categories: either they were a little too aggressive or a little too timid.
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"A dazzling new collection of short stories--the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic"--… (more)

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