Book Review: No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai

There was a time not so long ago when I would have deeply related to this book.


“All I feel are the assaults of apprehension and terror at the thought that I am the only one who is entirely unlike the rest. It is almost impossible for me to converse with other people. What should I talk about, how should I say it? – I don’t know.”

About the Book

Title: No Longer Human

Author: Osamu Dazai

Published: 1948

Genre: literary fiction, semi-autobiographical

My Rating: 4 stars


The Premise

Synopsis (from Goodreads) (truncated):

“Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, this leading postwar Japanese writer’s second novel, tells the poignant and fascinating story of a young man who is caught between the breakup of the traditions of a northern Japanese aristocratic family and the impact of Western ideas. In consequence, he feels himself “disqualified from being human” (a literal translation of the Japanese title).”

My Thoughts

There was a time not so long ago when I would have deeply related to this book. In high school I was extremely insecure and anxious. I was shy, awkward, high-strung, and other kids made fun of me for being “annoying”. I tried to seem unbothered, so I projected perfection at all times, outwardly enjoying my reputation of being “smart” and academically successful, even though I privately agreed with them that I was too annoying to be around and was ashamed of every word that came out of my mouth even when I purposely laced them with confidence.

I felt like there was something fundamentally wrong with me and no matter what I would never be able to be like everyone else, because I was a bad person, and because I was incapable of being likeable. Whatever friendships I had were doomed to fail because it was only a matter of time before people realized the kind of annoying person I truly was. I used to have a feeling whenever I went out in public that I was always being judged and every little thing I did, from the way I carried myself, to the way I spoke, and dressed, was wrong, and that which came naturally to everyone else could never come naturally to me. I remember writing that I felt like my very existence was embarrassing.

I don’t feel like that really anymore, but this book took me back to that time.

No Longer Human is quite reminiscent of other books in the sad-guy-rants-about-life genre, such as Notes from Underground , and though it was short, I did enjoy reading (listening) to it. It is beautifully written and places you unequivocally into the main characters perspective.

My favorite part was the epilogue because, without spoiling, it takes the message of the story and really hammers it home.


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2 comments on “Book Review: No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai”

  1. I’ve read it. It’s really a breathtaking display of the Japanese society those days. And for all that I care, also of our society now. It reminded me the first act of “Steppenwolf” from Herman Hesse. The second act, of course, is not in this book. Thanks for writing about!

    Liked by 1 person

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