Men Without Women: Cats, Music and Murakami

  • It is a collection of seven short stories with a similar sense of eerie, alienation, vulnerability, and loneliness of the male characters dealing with either grief, unrequited love, betrayal, or something completely peculiar.
  • This book is translated from original Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen.
  • Cats, Jazz, and Murakami with the usual surrealism are the elements that one can expect from this book.
  • You would be absorbed in the world weaved by the author however the stories might leave you astray because of the indefinite endings.

” Whether you want to or not. But the place you return to is always slightly different from the place you left. That’s the rule. It can never be exactly the same” – Drive My Car (Haruki Murakami)

Drive My Car – ★★★★

This story is about a stage actor, Kafuku who hired a strange women chauffeur. As he began to get comfortable with the driver, he opened up about his wife’s infidelity and how he never confronted her. His curiousness led him to befriend his wife’s last lover. Did he find out the reason or not?

Yesterday – ★★★★

Kitaru asked his friend Tanimura to go out with his childhood girlfriend because he thought she is too good for him. He knew eventually she would go out with other guys so if  it would be better for him if he knew the person. But, Erika was already seeing someone without Kitaru having any clue. What happens when they cross paths after sixteen years.

An Independent Organ – ★★

Dr Tokai was a successful plastic surgeon and never married. He had a perfect life until he fell in love. Things would have turned a bit differently only if she loved him back.

Scheherazade – ★★★

A mysterious man, Habara who was detached and hiding from the world had Scheherazade and her tales as the only connection. Scheherazade paid him weekly visits and had a gift of storytelling. She was all what Habara had. What if she never returned.

Kino – ★★★

Kino opened a bar after he found out about his wife’ cheating him. His customers are strange people including a cat who is a regular as well. Kino had to make a run after an unusual warning from a customer. Who knows what he is running from.

Samsa in Love – ★★★

This seems to be inspired  from Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis only in this story the protagonist woke up as Gregor Samsa. Admist this metamorphosis, a hunch back woman appears with whom Samsa fells in love.

Men without Women – ★★★

The protagonist received the news of his past girlfriend who has killed herself. Her death leads to reminiscing the past memories created with her even though they separated a long time back.

“That is what it is like to lose a woman. And at a certain time, losing one woman means losing all women. That’s how we become Men without Women.” -Men Without Women (Haruki Murakami)

Short stories that give Murakami’s flavour are perfect for a leisurely read. Yesterday is my favourite from the entire collection. I don’t highly recommend this book but yes, if you do pick this up you would definitely find yourself in a bizarre world of Murakami’s characters however it would be for a short duration.

Happy Reading,
Mini

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If you consider getting a copy after reading this post, please buy it from Amazon.

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