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.
Men Without Women is a collection of 7 short stories originally written in Japanese by Haruki Murakami & translated into English by Philip Gabriel & Ted Goossen. Haruki Murakami is the author of many novels as well as short stories & non-fiction. His books include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage, The Strange Library & Wind/Pinball. His work has been translated into more than 50 languages, and the most recent of his many international honours are the Jerusalem Prize & the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.
As the title of the book suggests all 7 short stories are about men who are alone, they might have had relationships with women but ultimately are living a life devoid of their presence. Drive My Car, the first story for instance is about an actor Kafuku who keeps on wondering why his late wife cheated on him. While the third story An Independent Organ is about a 52 year old cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr Tokai who has been a bachelor all his life & enjoys it fully because he wants to keep away from commitment hence he indulges in affairs only with married women or women in relationships but then the love bug caught up to him & he pays hefty for it. And then there’s Samsa in Love which is about Gregory Samsa who has suddenly got transformed from an insect to a human & while he settles in his new body he meets a hunchbacked woman whom he starts fancying. Though I’m tempted to write so much more about each of these stories, I won’t. Get the book to enjoy it!
A small confession before the review, this is my FIRST Murakami book & I’m so glad I got to read it! His way of writing is so dense & deep yet so simplistic when it comes to depicting human emotions that I’m actually relieved I started with a short stories than a full length novel. He has portrayed lives of 7 men who are lonely & are trying spend their lives in the best way they could but one can’t just suppress their feelings. Each single story had varying degree of emotional turmoil the protagonists went through which I think was the prime motive of the author, to portray that emotions aren’t exclusive to a gender but are shared by everyone & its absolutely normal to express such emotions. I love the title, cover & language, kudos to the translators though I still believe that this might not be his best work hence I need to read more of his work. Surely a must read!