Book Review: Men Without Women by Murakami Haruki

murakamiMen without Women 女のいない男たち came out 2014 shortly after Murakami’s novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

The book consists of  a collection of six short stories: Drive My Car, Yesterday, Body without Organs, Scheherazade, Kino and Men without Women.

All of them except Men Without Women have been published in Japanese magazines before. Yesterday has been translated by Phillip Gabriel and was published in the New Yorker in June 2014, Scheherazade in October 2014 and has been translated by Ted Goossen. It was published as well in the February issue of the magazine Monkey.

The German issue Von Männern, die keine Frauen haben includes  恋するザムザ Samsa in Love, also translated by Ted Goosen published in the New Yorker of October 2013. So the story Men without Women is truly the only new story in this book.

The stories are fine, a good mixture and therefore a good read. If you like to read short stories of Murakami Haruki you will not be disappointed.The stories are gathered around love sickness and loneliness. All from the perspective of men. And no wonder you will find similarities to his major works. My personal favorites of  this collection are Scheherazade and Drive my Car.

I recommend the book to people, who are collectors of Murakami Haruki’s books and to those, who want to read all of his writings or to readers, who haven’t read much of the author before.

The book is not fully available in English yet, but in German, Korean and Chinese. Maybe you give the original a try.

村上 春樹. 女のいない男たち. 2014.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Men Without Women by Murakami Haruki

  1. This is interesting. I have only ever read ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,’ and thus had no idea of the scope of Murakami’s work. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. It feels like Murakami is everywhere this year…
    Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and The Strange Library has been published in English this year, and now he has a new short story collection out in Japanese.

    I really, really enjoyed Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and I like the sound of this one. I have to wait until it gets translated though.

    • It seems, that Murakami Haruki had been very productive in the past. If you like his short stories, maybe you enjoy “The Elephant Vanishes”, one of his early collections.
      I like his works and Japanese literature in general. I wish, that more modern Japanese books are going to be translated.

      • I read the title story of “The Elephant Vanishes” and really liked it so maybe it’s high time I invest in the full volume.

        I developed a liking for Japanese literature last year and I really want to explore this realm a lot more. Your Japanese Reading List has been very useful in that respect, thank you!

  3. Marion, when you lasted posted about Murakami, I admitted my devotion to his works – having read very book published in Australia. That’s now up to 15.
    I am looking forward to this Men without Women collection of short stories.

    I bought myself a Christmas present this year – a new Murakami “The Strange Library”. This a a very short book, maybe an extended short story really. Where the narrator gets drawn into a mysterious other world underneath a library, where he is required to memorise volumes of works on tax collection in the Ottoman Empire.

    Maybe this has been published in Japan already under another title.

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  7. I had not heard of this collection of Murakami’s short stories before. Thanks, I will read these.

    He published a collection after the Kobe earthquake in 1996(?)that I really liked. My favorite novel of his is Norwegian Wood. It was a poignant portrayal of people struggling with depression, etc. I tried reading Chronicles but found it too long/boring.

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