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Men Without Women
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Group Book Reads > March 2019- MEN WITHOUT WOMEN

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message 1: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
Hi friends
We start today.
I will be joining in soon
Let us see whether the Murakami magic is still intact within this cluster of short stories.


message 2: by Vikas (new) - added it

Vikas (vikaskhair) | 23 comments Let's read it, I would have waited some more but since the group is reading it then why not? I shall pick it up in the morning :)


message 3: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
Vikas, great !
What I propose is whoever who finishes the first story starts the discussion ...
Will try to read one per day or two


Pallavi (bookfetisher) | 531 comments I am in time! :)


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Em*bedded-in-books* wrote: "Hi friends
We start today.
I will be joining in soon
Let us see whether the Murakami magic is still intact within this cluster of short stories."


I am also planning to begin March with Murakami. Great!
I'm all set, your highness.


message 6: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
Yayyy ..the more the merrier


Jhankar  | 207 comments Starting with the first story tonight!


Swathi Shetty (swathishetty) | 152 comments Read this book last year. Good collection of short shories! Some were really good. Some i found them okay! Happy reading💗


message 9: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
First story seems interesting ....Drive my car


Swathi Shetty (swathishetty) | 152 comments Yes i liked it. Drive My Car was 3 star-ish for me 3/5


message 11: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
Half way through .. so far 4 starrish .. will get back once I finish


message 12: by Bela (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bela Dedhia | 654 comments I finished the first two stories.. Drive my car and Yesterday. Both seem to have 2 things in common. The protagonist’s wish to be someone else than what he is. And also a sense of curiosity. The writing is classic murakami style.


message 13: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
Completed the first story. Underwhelmed.
Expected more from the author


message 14: by Shabana (new) - added it

Shabana Mukhtar (shabanamukhtarofficial) | 97 comments I am incidentally reading this one right now and couldn't resist the temptation to comment. I generally don't do buddy reads.
I have finished the first one and I am not as impressed as I had expected to be.


message 15: by Vishal (last edited Mar 03, 2019 10:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Just finished the first story. Frankly speaking, I did not expect anything from this book and despite no expectations, it disappointed me in every way. I still am sitting like a dumb guy and thinking what's the point of the whole story? Nothing happens... absolutely nothing.

Did the fact that Takatsuki was already punished by God Almighty as he was going to lose his son really make Kafuku leave him unpunished?
And what's the point in punishing, after all?
His wife was involved as well. Would he have punished her someday if she had lived?

Beethoven and cat and music, again a typical Murakami with an engaging writing style. Soon will move on to the second one. Hope that doesn't disappoint.


message 16: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
@Vishal
(view spoiler)


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Em*bedded-in-books* wrote: "@Vishal
the baby's death may be the central point on which the story develops. The mother started having random partners just to avenge date for having snatched away the child, the father kept qui..."


Yes, the story is open to personal interpretations. Though, I agree with you on most of the points.


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Just finished the second story: 'Yesterday.'
And I've seriously begun to think that I'm not smart enough to reckon the depth of this work.
Again, far as my mind goes, it seemed to be just a plain, regular story.
What's new? or What's there to learn? Isn't that happen to many of us?


message 19: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
Me too finished Yesterday .
It's sort of ordinary but for the character who is portrayed as extra ordinary ..
Didn't like it much too.. it is nothing that will stay in my mind.
Guess I like Murakami as a novel writer rather than a story teller .


message 20: by Bela (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bela Dedhia | 654 comments I have already finished the book but sadly it did not do much for me. Maybe there was a lot of expectation from murakami. After reading Kafka on the shore , this was a huge let down . I loved some of the characters though . But the underlying curiosity in the stories could not be satisfied. In the last story , Men without women , the author tries to explain the significance of title but I just could not relate to it. For me this book was a 3 star read( just about)


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Bela, which one did you like the most?

And I am totally agree, Kafka on the shore was on a different level, but then again the two formats are different from each other, in length as well as motives.


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments I mean out of 7 stories.


message 23: by Bela (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bela Dedhia | 654 comments I story I liked most was the first one “ Drive my car”. The characters of kafuku and misaki were well etched out and quite relatable too. After reading it I thought that the book had promise of being another murakami classic. But sadly, as the stories progressed I realised that it was not to be. In fact, on retrospect, I can see I gradual decline in the stories... with the first being the most liked and the last one “ men without women “ the least one.


message 24: by Vishal (last edited Mar 06, 2019 09:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Oh! And I am yet to sail through the remaining four :p
Hope I don't give up.
But the good news is...
I enjoyed the third one: "An Independent Organ"
The only thing I found a little off-putting is the repetition of the same idea over and over, like harping on about the same thing and so, I feel all the stories could further be reduced to just twenty-five to thirty pages.

And one serious question to all ladies here :p,
Would you all vouch for it?


"But at a certain point in their lives, all women tell lies, and they lie about important things. And when they do, most women’s expressions and voices don’t change at all, since it’s not them lying, but this independent organ they’re equipped with that’s acting on its own. That’s why—except in a few special cases—they can still have a clear conscience and never lose sleep over anything they say."


message 25: by Bela (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bela Dedhia | 654 comments Hi Vishal ... I too liked “ An independent organ” . It was a close second Fr me. And I agree with you about the repetitive part. It becomes a little irritating at times to read the same thing over n over again. Also, throughout the book , the underlying theme being repeated in all the stories is the condition of men after the loss of the women in their lives. It’s as if the whole existence of men depends on the women and how they all seem to fall apart without them. All the stories basically depict the different ways in which each man reacts to this loss.

To answer your question:
Yes, I think every woman does possess this independent organ. There are many instances where she has to lie . But those are not meant to harm someone intentionally. In fact it’s the opposite. Sometimes telling a white lie is better to preserve the balance n harmony in life. But I am sure it’s just not us women who do that. Men are equally guilty of doing it , aren’t they?


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Bela wrote: "Hi Vishal ... I too liked “ An independent organ” . It was a close second Fr me. And I agree with you about the repetitive part. It becomes a little irritating at times to read the same thing over ..."

Yes, men do lie. There is no doubt about it. But they aren't smooth enough, poor souls and can be caught easily. The reason could be that they don't spend much time planning the whole scheme or the comebacks in case of confrontation and so, almost all the time they lie spontaneously, like on the spot when circumstances don't go their way, (yes until and unless he is working for some secret agency like CIA or RAW where he is to preplan the whole charade :p) Whereas women spend, or it may be just my opinion, a good amount of time checking rechecking all the facts, the comebacks and only when the smooth execution of their lie gets insured, they perform. And then they perform like an Oscar-winning actress. :p


message 27: by Bela (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bela Dedhia | 654 comments Haha.. I like the way you put it Vishal . The men sounding like innocent lambs ( poor fellows) and the women coming across as conniving scheming birches. :p. But to an extent it’s true . We do tend to put in a lot of thought in whatever we do ( not just lying , but in general ). Thinking it all out in the mind beforehand before doing anything, is natural for women ( or at least for me).


message 28: by Vishal (last edited Mar 06, 2019 10:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Bela wrote: "Haha.. I like the way you put it Vishal . The men sounding like innocent lambs ( poor fellows) and the women coming across as conniving scheming birches. :p. But to an extent it’s true . We do tend..."

No, haha... No, I am not sketching men here as innocent lambs or women as cunning vixens. As a matter of fact, men themselves are responsible for being outsmarted by women in the end. See, there can be an entirely different perspective as well.

Mostly, or in fact all the time, men presume that they are genius and so, they think they don't need to care much and believe that they can handle any delicate situation whenever it pops up. (Which very well can be seen as an egotistical approach to things, which is in DNA of men, and they can't help about it much. ) But, in the end, we all are humans whether men or women and so, the amount of cunning is very subjective. A man can be less cunning than a particular woman and more than the others or a woman can even be more intelligent than a whole group of men.
So who turns out to be an innocent lamb and who a cunning fox, depends purely upon the couple. :p


Pallavi (bookfetisher) | 531 comments Finished the first story.
Half way through 2nd.

For me it is a normal Murakami book. I liked the first story. Second one is a bit off but still going good,
I like the narration.


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments I've read three so far and I like them in this order
1. The third one. (An independent organ)
2. The first one. ( Drive my car)
3. The second one. (Yesterday)

The second story did not appeal to me. No twist, No meaning ... Nothing.


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Finished fourth: Scheherazade
It was engaging throughout but again, in the end, spoiled my mood.

Why does Mr. Murakami have to leave me hanging every time? Huh!


message 32: by Em*bedded-in-books*, #madbibliophile (new) - added it

Em*bedded-in-books* | 45060 comments Mod
Am almost finishing the third one, finding it the best so far.


message 33: by Bela (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bela Dedhia | 654 comments @ Vishal... that’s a question which all of us have.
Why does he always have to leave the reader in suspense? It feels so irritating and frustrating!


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Em*bedded-in-books* wrote: "Am almost finishing the third one, finding it the best so far."

Yes, Madam Smi, so far the third one is the best one.


message 35: by Vishal (last edited Mar 09, 2019 04:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Bela wrote: "@ Vishal... that’s a question which all of us have.
Why does he always have to leave the reader in suspense? It feels so irritating and frustrating!"


His writing style is so captivating that it almost pulls in all your senses, but only if... Only if he doesn't leave the stories in the middle like that, wouldn't it end up like living in a dreamlike trance, the most coveted state our bibliomaniac minds try to reach?

I just want him to understand that readers aren't always that smart! At least I am not, for sure!


message 36: by Bela (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bela Dedhia | 654 comments Totally agree you Vishal. I always used to doubt myself... he was s a master storyteller.. so.. Am I the only one dumb here who doesn’t get what he is trying to say in the end?
Feels good to learn that it’s not me , it’s him :p


message 37: by Vishal (last edited Mar 09, 2019 06:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Hahaha, nice one!

if a piece of writing is too complex to comprehend, then it's not that the writer is intelligent, rather it's that he is a lazy fcuk and has no regard for the readers!


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Finished with the fifth: Kino

And I here announce:

Mr. Murakami writes only for cryptographers, for detectives, decoders, and decipherers. No wonder, if he writes for agents from CIA or scientists from NASA. He could even be writing for Aliens.

But certainly not for peeps like me, for a mediocre mind like mine. :(


message 39: by Selva (new) - added it

Selva Subramanian | 452 comments A bit late to the party. Starting today.


message 40: by Selva (new) - added it

Selva Subramanian | 452 comments I don't want to sound high and mighty....but most short story writers who don't focus on plot in a O'Henry-esque way leave their short stories like that. There is no this is what i wanted to say kind of thing. It is just the feeling they manage to evoke. Jhumpa Lahiri too writes like that. I have read mostly anthologies and many people write that way. In fact, that is the desired form I believe. In the one book that I read, Alice Munro was sort of in between. About this book, I read close to 4 stories. The second one - Yesterday , I thought was a bit underdeveloped. Drive my car and An Independent organ in a way clearly state what they are trying to say. I loved Scheherazade till the point I read after which the pages are jumbled up in my copy. One thing though: None of the stories were dull :). There is a movie The other man - which is exactly like the story Drive My Car. It is a good movie with an excellent cast. It captures the mental state of the husband very nicely. Loved An Independent Organ too.


message 41: by Vishal (last edited Mar 11, 2019 09:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Selva wrote: "I don't want to sound high and mighty....but most short story writers who don't focus on plot in a O'Henry-esque way leave their short stories like that. There is no this is what i wanted to say ki..."

Yes, no matter what our individual opinions suggest, one can not deny that all of the stories are captivating right from their beginnings. They hold you and keep holding you. And that is what Murakami does with his pen. He enchants you. He drags you in slowly and then kills you.


Pallavi (bookfetisher) | 531 comments For me "Drive my car" was the best one and favorite. It was quiet and touching without many emotions written down but still brimming with essence of life.
I also liked "Kino" and "Scheherazade".

I didn't like "An independent organ" that much. It was a bit off for me. Nothing do with women lying or anything. A bit hastily written is what i felt.

But a good whole-some read!! :)


Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Finished the book.
And the story 'Samsa in love' changed everything. Though I was considering this collection to be just a 3-star read, I end up giving it four.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

'Samsa in love' apparently is a continuation of the story 'The Metamorphosis' by Franz Kafka.
I already knew the protagonist, about the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa into a bug, so when I saw Mr. Murakami trying to take his story ahead, or you can say trying to reflect upon the reverse metamorphosis, I got super excited and I wanted to read and read and read about the fate of Gregor. And after reading the complete story, I can very well say that I have no doubt as to the sincerity and responsibility with which Mr. Murakami has done justice to the thought of anti-alienation.

A great writer's tribute to another. :)


Jhankar  | 207 comments So a little behind the schedule but I'm two stories down. Liked Drive my Car, a lot. Absolutely loved Yesterday. As always, I love every single character created by Murakami. Reading about them always makes me want to actually get to know them. And I agree with Selva above, about the feeling that these short stories have managed to evoke in me so far. In fact, I personally felt that both the stories were neatly and beautifully tied up in the end.

Looking forward to the rest of the stories.


Jhankar  | 207 comments Update - Finished Kino. Saying that I was creeped out would be an understatement. Only left with Samsa in Love and I wish there were more short stories in this book.


Tanya | 5 comments Just started with it today. Hope I am not too late to join the bandwagon.

Read the first two.. Driving My Car and Yesterday.

What I like Murakami is that in his stories he is describing the characters when they are connecting really deeply with someone. It is not about someone's life-story but the moment when two people really connected.

Like Driving My Car - is just a conversation that Kafuku and Misaki had during a long drive. They have met recently and are very peculiar people but this is the very first time that they have a real conversation.

In Yesterday - Erika and Tanimura has met just thrice but these three conversations holds a lot of significance in their life.

May be these are conversations which will never affect life of any of the protagonists in the future but Murakami is definitely a master who can conjure the moments in people life which were Real. Where the conversations were not some weather exchanges but they really meant something.

i sometime really wonder as if we have lost touch with the art of conversation.


Tanya | 5 comments Finished.

This is my first ever participation in a Book of the Month discussion and I am just glad that I could contribute.

Scheherazade was the first ever work of Murakami that I ever read. It was one of his blog post. This and an excerpt from Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki was all it took me to get hooked. I could never take away the feeling that Habara was the boy whose house she used to break into. That explains a lot of things even the last cliffhanger.

I amazed to see how there is music in each of his stories which is part of an individual's character along with whether they like records, cassatte or it being played live. His archetype of people is kind of music they listen to.

Kino's story reminded me of Murakami himself, he also used to own a bar at some point and play records. I think it was his comfort zone too.

And of course Samasa in Love is an ode to Kafka similar to the name Kafuku in the first story.

The trans that Scheherazade talks about is what I get into every time I read a Murakami. It has been same since the very beginning and sometimes I can't even relate to it say in Men without Women, but feeling persists. Like a junkie to reach out to the surreal smog of his world.

I also feel that the characters of his stories often reappears under different names and story lines. They are seldom new characters with different set of values. You always have a feeling that you them from somewhere.


Jhankar  | 207 comments Tanya wrote: "Finished.

This is my first ever participation in a Book of the Month discussion and I am just glad that I could contribute.

Scheherazade was the first ever work of Murakami that I ever read. It w..."


Wow Tanya, I had not really made the connection but now that you mention it, it does seem probable that Habara was the kid from Scheherazade's stalker-y past! Gives an entirely different perspective to the story.


Srikar (sg2411) | 20 comments Started late but able to complete in just a few days. This is the first book of Murakami I read.
I did not have any expectations in the beginning. But I expected more after completing the first two stories. In the end, I was disappointed as I expected something more. But, I am happy to read this book.
The stories are engaging and I liked the style of narration. Murakami has a different way of taking us into the story. It seems like a slow poison which starts to affect as after a certain time. I like the way he leaves the stories in the middle for the readers to think. One thing can change the whole perspective of the story. I did not get many of the references used by Murakami in the stories.

After reading "Scheherazade", I thought for a long time to connect the dots. The thought occurred to me that Habara might be the kid from her story made it a great story. Did Murakami have the same thing in mind? don know for the rest of my life.
As I am new to his work, I did not get hidden meanings from some stories (like 'Kino').
And also listened to some of the Beatles songs after reading 'Yesterday'. I became a fan of the Beatles now.
'An Independent Organ' felt like when the story ends. Just felt like the ending is prolonged and we could guess the ending quite early compared to the other stories.
The order of the stories should have changed. The stories 3, 4 and 5 were my favorites.
I am new to this group just joined last month. This is my first ever group read. I am glad that I could discuss.


message 50: by Vishal (last edited Mar 25, 2019 04:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vishal Chaurasia | 94 comments Srikar wrote: "Started late but able to complete in just a few days. This is the first book of Murakami I read.
I did not have any expectations in the beginning. But I expected more after completing the first two..."


Glad that you read this book. Yes, the first two stories did not click with me too. But then the rest of the book left me with a deep contentment, especially Samsa in love and Kino . I enjoyed, An independent organ and Scheherazade as well. :)


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