Book Review: Men Without Women

If you’ve never read a Murakami story or heard a tale of it, consider yourself missing out on one of the greatest writers of the century who needs to date more.

haruki murakami book reviewHaruki Murakami is a celebrated Japanese writer equitable to the frenzy of J.K. Rowling, when the print edition hits the bookstores it’s just a matter of days that it’s sold out.   The reason for this frenzy is the brilliance of Murakami’s imagination and realism that penetrates your thought process and your conscience.

‘Men Without Women’ is a collective bunch of stories, seven to be exact that are a complete contrast to the other books that he has written. The stories in this new book have a common thread, the emotions linked to loneliness. The protagonist in each of these tales examines the origin, cause and what-if to the core, waxing and waning your thought as you absorb the words. The beauty of the stories is that each character is truly an aspect of the reader forcing you to silently psychoanalyze yourself.

The stories range from “Drive My Car,” about a reasonably successful stage actor, Kafuku whose new driver brings back decade-old memories of his deceased wife and her infidelities, to “An Independent Organ,” a portrait of a longtime Casanova and the devastation caused by falling in love for the first time at age 52, to “Kino,” the story of a man who leaves his wife and career to open a humble bar that attracts sordid and mysterious patrons.

The female aspect is lauded, yearned and mourned for by each male protagonist who is experiencing loss and love not explored. The construct of each story – when the protagonist unravels his thought – is almost somewhat a lovemaking session. Murakami is adept at relating an armada of emotions of man’s basic need of sexual prowess without making it misogynistic.

The pain that is displayed in each story is a journey of a man who failed in loving enough or loving too much, the case of love being blind actually.  Then the other angle you could consider is that Murakami needs to have more interactions with women perhaps get laid more or perhaps he should be reading Paige Nick’s collection of letters in Pens Behaving Badly.

Men Without Women is 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.

Originally published: 18 April 2014
Author: Haruki Murakami
ISBN: 9781911215370

About Naufal Khan

Naufal Khan was the Publisher at ADISHAKTI MEDIA and the editor-in-chief of the South African Indian news service Indian Spice. Khan was former Sunday Times journalist and also an occult fiction and non-fiction writer with several published titles.