“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads – at least that’s where I imagine it – there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”
– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
In Haruki Murakami’s collection of seven short stories, Men Without Women, he explores the correlative parallel aspect of love and loneliness through the lives of seven men.
Throughout the seven stories, the main characters have a fatalistic attitude toward their lives because of losing someone—in most cases, losing their lover through death, divorce, or an affair. Glimpses of hope are offered by strangers, by women they meet and have connections with for a short while. Even then, Murakami’s characters maintain the inclination to resign to passivity. If the title somehow reminds you of Ernest Hemingway’s collection of short stories with the same title, Men Without Women, the only similarity is the passivity the characters hold onto. Murakami’s stories feel sentimental and sometimes surreal in a Kafka-esque and Poe-esque way.
Men Without Women is classic Murakami with all the subtle beauty and splendor.
Rating : 3.5/4
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