“No Longer Human” is a semi-autobiography, a story dealing with mostly true events and some fictional elements, by Osamu Dazai. It is one of those books people recommend constantly. It is all over social media and bookstores. It is a 1948 Japanese novel translated into English.
The book is about a man’s journey through life. He feels different and isolated. From the time he was young he felt unhappy but was unsure why. It shows his struggle with alcoholism, depression, and his way of coping and dealing with these problems. The book takes readers through his life and dealing with many different struggles he experiences through relationships and life in general.
I have read tons of glowing reviews of the book. Yet, when I read it I was not very impressed. I found that the story evoked little to no emotion in me. I love sad books and I heard that it was super sad. I read it and found that I did not really care much for the main character or the author. He seemed unbearable at times. He would talk of how good his life was and then self sabotage and beg for sympathy. He also messed up the lives of many people through his antics.
I think that this book might still be a good recommendation for people who enjoy short books about mental health. I just did not enjoy the writing style of the book. I think that the way it was written made the plot kind of disappear behind the poor storytelling. The way the plot was patched together made the events all sound boring and made all big moments disappear. The plot is written through diary-like entries, so the plot is only big events and no smaller life events.
I also found that the timing and length of the story made it very difficult to build relationships with the characters. The book only being 271 pages made the plot progress quickly. This made it hard to enjoy the characters outside of their struggles. The characters never get fully developed. Mostly all you hear about people is short sections about their relationship with the main characters and his explanation of struggles or his effect on their lives.
I would still say give this book a try if it sounds interesting. I just personally found that it did not appeal to my emotions more than any other book without sad motives.