Taka's Reviews > 人間失格 [Ningen Shikkaku]

人間失格 [Ningen Shikkaku] by Osamu Dazai
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's review
Jul 06, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 1-fiction-you-must-read, japanese_lit, japan_jul07-aug11
Read from July 05 to 06, 2011


J-Lit Binge Syllabus Item #2.

A beautiful and strange mix of Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground and Oscar Wild's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dazai Osamu's No Longer Human (though I prefer the translation, Human Failure, as it's closer to the original Japanese title) is an excellent read. It tells of a man—Yozo Oba—who doesn't know how to get along with other humans and who engages in buffoonery to hide his real identity. The man is really like the protagonist from Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, but Yozo is a lot less philosophical and rumbling. The story portrays his struggle to understand humans and to be human, only to descend into a hell of alcoholism, drug addiction, and debts. The downward spiral and his temporary recovery are all fascinating and told in a superbly concise (clocking in at 150 pages in the Japanese edition) and gripping manner.

GREAT read. Will be reading more Dazai for sure.

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