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No Longer Human (original 1948; edition 2001)
by Osamu Dazai
No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai (1948)
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Oh boy. This book makes different types of people uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, and most of them are in denial of certain realities (uh, sometimes their own). ( )
Many describe this Dazai work as depressing, but I would argue that Yozo's critical account of his life is tainted with a thin undercurrent of ache, caused by both the love and the suffering of his life. Unreliable narration and many contradictions make Yozo's humanity shine through brightly and beautifully, though he tells you that he no longer "qualifies to be human." The difference between a novel that is plagued with longing and unable to reach a positive conclusion, and a novel that is just downright depressing, is that "depressing" really lacks the layers of emotion and meaning so carefully handcrafted by Yozo and Dazai. This is made all the more fascinating when pondering where the line between Yozo ends, and that of Dazai begins. 9/10
A taste of a different and tragic life.
Japanese Joker Meursault.
Very beautiful and sad.
Hmmm... I read because Dazai comes up so often as classic Japanese author. My first book by him. I was ... underwhelmed... page after page of self indulgent braggadocio ... "smarter than anyone without studying" "everybody loved me no matter what" "i immediately saw through every one" "i am the only authentic person alive" ... ok- so that is an impressionistic summary of the content and yes, it is rings of salinger and lots of other young coming of age self obsessed boys, but this is rather over the top in its shameless single minded shallowness. We are supposed to be .. impressed? pity? i'm not sure exactly. So... why 4 stars after all that? (pretty high) well, it does grow on one - the vapid, immature child clinging to those passing by. Ultimately we have some charming, dark scenes ... i'm thinking of his 2nd wife and that loser friend of his.
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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.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)895.635 — Literature Literature of other languages Asian (east and south east) languages Japanese Japanese fiction 1945–2000
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