Paquita Maria Sanchez's Reviews > No Longer Human

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
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bookshelves: literature, japan

Those days where you wake up with your head in a fog and your body feeling like it's covered in bricks that you have to dig your way out of, and your leg is asleep so you trip getting out of bed, and you're late for work so of course the traffic's bad leading you to road-rage across lanes accelerating then braking back and forth again while muttering to yourself about how stupid everyone is and you're so glad it's Sunday in their fucking world because all the drivers are 90 years old and frail with their noses practically pressed against their front windshields as the zip down the highway at 50 mph in a line across all 3 lanes, and you didn't have time or money to eat so your stomach gnaws at you all day as you try to focus on your work, but you're buried to your neck in it, and you just can't seem to stop making that same stupid mistake over and over again even though you've completely attuned yourself to your workflow on a normal day, and the shift drags on for an eternity and everyone's in a bitchy mood and you finally make it home and drink yourself forgetful, all the while staring at a wall and grinding your teeth before finally making your way to the bathroom to brush your teeth, but instead you fall asleep on the floor with the faucet running and have nightmares about spiders eating your eyelids and spinning your fingers into webs so that you have to use your hands like clubs for the rest of your life, and then you wake up fully clothed including your shoes and you feel really weird about everything that happened.

The narrator of this book lives this sort of day every single day, his presumably short lifetime nothing but disappointment and dejection, and he tells us about it exhaustively on every page. He uses a lot more punctuation than I did, but it's every bit as tiresome. Booze, sex, women, breaking up, booze, women, booze, suicide attempts, booze, breaking up, booze, women, breaking up, and everybody sucks but especially me, booze, suicide attempts, breaking up, morphine (Woo hoo! Life rules!), too much morphine, suicide attempts, breaking up, etc. Maybe that's your thing, I don't know. I wasn't in the mood, being that I haven't had a shit enough day to act pathetically and irritatingly cynical in a while, so the whole time I was reading this I just kind of wanted to flick the narrator in the nose for reminding me just how much I can "me me me" suck sometimes.

Recommended for sadists, masochists, and whiny little shits. It's pretty good, though. Question: Would you like some cheese with that whine?

Additional thought: I just wanted to jump back in here for a little troll patrol: I understand from the blurb that this book is supposed to be about internal struggles of the Japanese concerning the infiltration of Western ideals, cultures clashing, confused identity, you know the drill. I want to assure you that was not lost on me, as it was one of the primary reasons I chose to purchase this book in the first place. I find such transitional periods and the ensuing struggles with definitions of self to be very fascinating. Here comes the "however": However, I really didn't see that here. I think it would be rather ethnocentric to assume that overly-critical self-analysis, apathy, depression, defeat, insanity, and substance abuse are specifically western imports. Did we introduce the Japanese to booze? Not as I understand it. Did we stumble upon a happy-go-lucky paradise of Huxley-an automatons when west met east, only to spoil/enlighten them with our savage knowledge of the depths of human depravity, of the Sisyphean nature of living? Nope. There is simply not enough culture-specific material in this novel for me to even begin to make some argument about cultural hybridity w/r/t this character and his particular struggles. For the most part, this book could have been written in any number of languages without reshaping its skeleton. No, I didn't read it in Japanese, so maybe I'm missing something in the translation, but if that's the case then the translator himself needs to start working on his resume, because he has completely botched this effort. However, I really don't think that's the case.
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Reading Progress

July 23, 2012 – Shelved
December 18, 2012 – Started Reading
Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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Janice I want to read this. Probably because I am a sadist.

Paquita Maria Sanchez Weeee! I read it because I am a whiny little shit. What a team we make.

message 3: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Hey, I had spider/finger nightmares the otherday too. But in mine spiders were living in my nose and my fingers were made out of weed so I smoked them and then I had no fingers.

Paquita Maria Sanchez Kristen wrote: "Hey, I had spider/finger nightmares the otherday too. But in mine spiders were living in my nose and my fingers were made out of weed so I smoked them and then I had no fingers."

That sounds like a scene from a Freddy movie. Only after you smoked most of your fingers away, Freddy's razors would shoot out of the stumps and you would use them as hot knives to finish off the shake. Then you would slice yourself to death, of course.

message 5: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) "troll patrol"... te he. you funny.

Paquita Maria Sanchez Jenn(ifer) wrote: ""troll patrol"... te he. you funny."

Woot! Thanks. Yeah, I've been noticing a resurgence of the "you just don't get it" brand of troll, and those guys are particularly pompous and irksome. They aren't as frustrating as the "I will rape your face, woman" kind, but they are far more insidious. They hide in the trees.

Paquita Maria Sanchez Miriam! I can't watch your video until I get home from work, but I will drink wine to it. Deal?

message 9: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich I could have sworn I placed a comment here, apparently I blew it. Ace review, the bit about the old sunday drivers really got me. I hate those huge black boxes of sunglasses old people wear, I always get suspicious that they are actually just blind. Whenever I see someone wearing the on a freeway I try and put as much road in between me and the inevitable deadly pile-up that I'm convinced will occur at any moment...
Also, troll patrol Awesome.

Paquita Maria Sanchez Pa-troll!

message 11: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich HAH, that's the rallying cry now for anytime someone is getting trolled and could use some non-woman-hating-non-snob backup.

Paquita Maria Sanchez We should make official badges or matching team t-shirts or something.

message 13: by Mir (new)

Mir That is a great idea. You're artistical, why don't you design them?

message 14: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Best idea ever. AND rings like in Captain Planet?

Paquita Maria Sanchez Ideas are you mind if there's a pistol and a cowboy hat involved? Because, yeah.

message 16: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich I wouldn't have it any other way!

Paquita Maria Sanchez This is what is popularly known as the "I Will Rape Your Face" troll doll. It's quite popular with Palahniuk fans.


message 18: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Somehow being a Chicago Bears troll makes that all the more fitting...

Paquita Maria Sanchez Dang, son, you have excellent vision!

message 20: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich I caught that dastardly C and then zoomed in to be sure (I used to work with a super obnoxious Bears fan. Da Bears).

Paquita Maria Sanchez No one can hear "Chicago Bears" without thinking of that skit. NO ONE.

message 22: by Jakob J. (new)

Jakob J. My sophisticated assessment of your additional thought troll patrol is that it was super bad ass. Also true, but most importantly, bad ass.

Paquita Maria Sanchez The trolls have taken to raping faces in the streets, Jacob! I just figured I'd play it safe and go ahead n' build a moat before the war. A moat of bloodthirsty qualifiers.

message 24: by Fa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fa  Amero E Man, I LOVED this book... But I had to give you a pretty damned well deserved like.
Jajaja, the introduction was just HILARIOUS! And you're right in many aspects.
As a High School student, I've had to read MOUNTAINS (of madness) of absolutely dull Spanish realistic Literature. And the exhaaaaaausting and repeeeeetitive descriptions you complain about in No Longer Human are ABSOLUTELY NOTHING compared to Benito Perez Galdós's texts.
I wonder if you've ever read them. If not, then don't do so. You'll suffer much more and will end up hating Spain (just like me). Still, somehow, I found this book pretty interesting, and it was of much help to have the opinion o someone else for the better understanding of the novel itself.
Thank you so much for your review. It was amazing! (Though I can't agree)

message 25: by Mir (new)

Mir Ha! I didn't think Perez Galdós was anything like the most dragging author I ever read. At least Tristana wasn't that long. Maybe it seemed okay compared to moralizing texts from the same time in England, which tend to be twice as wordy.

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