• No Longer Human

  • By: Osamu Dazai
  • Narrated by: David Shih
  • Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (819 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Portraying himself as a failure, the protagonist of Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human narrates a seemingly normal life, even while he feels himself incapable of understanding human beings. Oba Yozo's attempts to reconcile himself to the world around him begin in early childhood, continue through high school, where he becomes a "clown" to mask his alienation, and eventually lead to a failed suicide attempt as an adult. Without sentimentality, he records the casual cruelties of life and its fleeting moments of human connection and tenderness.

©1958 New Directions Publishing Corporation (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The novel has a timeless quality: The struggle of the individual to fit into a normalizing society remains just as relevant today as it was at the time of writing." ( The Japan Times)

Editor's Pick

The gut-wrenching effort to belong
"Born of alienation and touch of depravity, No Longer Human gets right down to the brass tacks of existential crisis. It is disturbing and deeply sad in many ways, but also unusually reassuring because it is such a raw representation of a person struggling with their flaws, face first."
Michael D., Audible Editor

What listeners say about No Longer Human

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well

it made me miserable. but I expected as much so it's definitely what I paid for.

32 people found this helpful

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Reassuring in its bare-boned humanity

My girlfriend (who is French) gave this to me in book form for my birthday, and then I realized that Audible recently added it so I secretly listened to it instead.

I joke with her a lot about her French philosophical perspectives, you know 'laissez-faire', 'je ne sais pas' type stuff. And she talks a lot about the cultural differences between France and the States, especially when it comes to socializing. She refers to the social scene in the States as "The Masquerade", which I feel is pretty accurate.

Anyway! I should have expected this book would make some sort of Albert Camus-esque social commentary, but since it's from a Japanese author I didn't immediately jump to that conclusion. But it boy o boy is it similar, just like the other reviewer mentioned.

I think it really works in its own way though. Osamu Dazai gives his character a nagging need that is compelling and drives both the conflict and the unnerving ennui-imbued voice throughout.

There is something reassuring about getting inside the head of someone so troubled about their social identity. The struggle is intensely, intimately relateable, and that I think, is what great writing is about. It helps ease some of the larger existential anxiety, because you get the feeling that you aren't the only one.

Also, as a Japanese book, translated into English and narrated by what sounds like an American, you can't really ask for a better performance.

62 people found this helpful

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Good book, but disagree with MC's behaviour.

While reading this book, I could truly relate to the action of the MC. He placed himself in what we called safe zone and avoid incurring pain to others. In consequent, it caused him to carry other people's burden and misery.
The author, Dazai, perfectly described the thought process of the character throughout the journey and sometimes added some of his own advices to the MC.
I would not recommend this book to the young readers since it can lead them into wrongdoing due to MC, somewhat I said, childish behaviour.

21 people found this helpful

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sad but an interesting perspective

the book is sad there is no doubt about that but yet it does you an interesting perspective in the forms of what takes place in alcoholism and depression and somebody who's pain during suicide along with the fact how they're wondering how they themselves can exist in society and the pressures of society has put on them to exist

16 people found this helpful

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Well written terrible person study.

If I just happened to read this book without noticing it was written by a Japanese fellow I’d have assumed it was written by or at least about a trump supporting boomer. Kind of terrifying. He’s a terrible person, the kind of person that’s a failure in everything not that he didn’t have privilege or opportunity. But liked to blame everyone one else for his problems as he sank deeper and deeper into depression and alcoholism. I didn’t dislike the book, it’s very well written and enjoyable to a point, but I hate the character on a ‘I know that guy’ level.

Worth a read especially if your like me and realize this books been adopted into almost every form of Japanese artist medium including one of my favorite manga horror artist Junji Ito’s ‘No Longer Human’.

Just know if you find this character identifiable you might need a hug and a therapist.

14 people found this helpful

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The more melancholic L'Étranger

This is one of those books that make you question everything, once more. It is beautifully tragic, especially when reading about Dazai's life after the book.

Sidenote: very good foreword as well.

13 people found this helpful

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Great book

It surprised me that this book was written so long ago. It feels like it was written today. Very much, it reminded me of Albert Camus' 'The Stranger,' but in voice and attitude only- not in story. I liked the book so much I restarted it right again and had a second listen.

11 people found this helpful

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MADE ME CRY

The book was amazing, the story ear catching and also very sad. The ending concluded the book very well with the epilogue provinding a a viewpoint from some time after the story takes place.

9 people found this helpful

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A Complex Book with A Monotone Narrator

There's no doubt that this is a complex story that weaves together a tale that is both depressing and insightful to the human experience. Just wish the narrator used more than 1 voice throughout the story.

7 people found this helpful

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If Camus was Japanese

If you could sum up No Longer Human in three words, what would they be?

Camus in Japan

What other book might you compare No Longer Human to and why?

The Stranger. Our protagonist feels disconnected from humanity, leading him down a path of self destruction

If you could take any character from No Longer Human out to dinner, who would it be and why?

UGH... none... I'd be afraid of being hit up for a heavy bar tab... or worse.

Any additional comments?

It's a punch in the gut that you are glad you received. Like Trainspotting, this is not something for when you are depressed. But it is a ride I highly encourage everybody take.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Charles Anderson
  • 04-27-17

Disqualified as a Human Being

i am surprised and glad an audiobook was produced of No Longer Human in English in 2016. i for more japanese literature of this period is produced at such a high quality.

4 people found this helpful

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  • thomas
  • 06-12-21

Great

I read the graphic novel first before listening to this and I finished in one sitting, beautiful and depressing

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  • Mike Wasowski
  • 03-28-21

a rollercoaster

this book is extremely sad and melancholy, but is also al thought provoker and very real, i did have to relisten to a segment occasionally when I'd loose track but that's probably more due to my own fault.

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  • neddy
  • 09-17-20

love it very honest

loved it very honest truthful to the flaws of humans, loved the narrator as well

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  • Tyler Durden
  • 05-31-18

Born miserable and selfish apparently.

Self-centred, pathetic, depressed, privileged idiot. Nothing interesting or relatable about his miserable life. I don't see any value in reading this book. The story is completely pointless and doesn't shed much light into anything. It's just a young guy who seems to have been born with a mental illness. The whole time he is miserable for no good reason. Couldnt empathise with him or understand why he's constantly unhappy despite being born into privilege and even getting plenty of women throwing themselves at him.

Waste of time.

7 people found this helpful