Men without Women Hardcover – 1 Aug 2017
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"Supremely enjoyable, philosophical and pitch-perfect new collection of short stories. . . Murakami has a marvellous understanding of youth and age - and the failings of each" (Observer)
"Murakami writes of complex things with his usual beguiling simplicity. . . Strangely invigorating to read. . . It is Murakami at his whimsical, romantic best" (Financial Times)
"Calculatedly provocative. . ., the stories offer sweet-sour meditations on human solitude and a yearning to connect. . . Murakami, always inventive, is one of the finest popular writers at work today" (Ian Thomson Evening Standard)
"Written with all the cats, spaghetti, humor, and gentle surrealism we might expect . . . Men Without Women is a funny, lovely, unmistakably Murakami collection of seven stories about the lives of people trying to find their place in the world and reckoning with their pasts" (Buzzfeed)
"A disconcertingly funny portrait of modern loneliness" (Hayley Maitland Vogue)
"Self-schooled and uncontaminated by writerly edicts, the 68-year-old presents subjects directly on a platter before the reader. . . but stirs up all kinds of themes and truths in the allegorical mud through his gentle, almost conversational style" (Hilary A White Irish Independent)
"One of the finest pieces of short-form writing I have enjoyed in many years… If the familiar way of Haruki Murakami are an enthusiasm, there is plenty here to divert the aficionado, but he also takes a turn into riskier territory that could well coax new readers into his distinctive world" (Keith Bruce Herald)
"Moments of melancholy and humour mix with acute observation in the latest offering by Japan’s master storyteller" (Angel Gurría-Quintana Financial Times)
A dazzling new collection of short stories - the internationally bestselling author's first collection for over a decade.See all Product description
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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!
As I am eagerly waiting for Murakami’s latest fiction ‘Killing Commendatore’ in English I thoroughly enjoyed this short story collection. Two short stories ‘Drive My Car’ and ‘An Independent Organ’ stood out for me.
For someone new to Murakami I wouldn’t suggest to start reading Murakami with this book. Reason being you would not be able to truly appreciate the author. Sputnik Sweetheart or Norwegian Wood is where you should start Murakami. Then go to his short story collections such as this one, After the Quake and Elephant Vanishes. If you enjoyed these then you venture into the ‘Rat’ series and finally the dark world of Murakami with Wind up Bird Chronical, Kafka on the Shore, and finally 1Q84.
Here we meet Scheherzade, as mysterious as the heroin of Arabian Nights, who makes love and then tells a story, and then becomes the story herself. We meet Kino, who does not know whether he is in love or not, Samsa, who is positively in love and then positively heart broken... so much that he can become the oblivion he wishes to become. Each story of a man, a woman in his life, an inability to hold the woman he so dearly wants to hold and then regret. At the end, there is regret.
The reference to Japanese life is refreshing. Here is a glimpse of another culture, another people, another way of thinking, another life. One has read too much English fiction set in America or Britain, and lately India. But the men and the women... they are the same. Nothing dramatic happens, yet one feels the joy and the sorrow, the latter more often than the former.
Murakami writes not for the young. Not for those who have not seen pain and loss in relationships yet. The men in his stories have lived their lives, have experienced love and loss and are now at a stage where they can look back at their lives, the women they had and grieve about what could have been but isn't.
"don't ever change stay amazing. happy Birthday xxxxxx".
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