The novel is written in the form of a journal and is often considered semi-autobiographical, as it draws from Dazai’s own experiences.
The story follows Yozo Oba from his early childhood, marked by a sense of detachment and difficulty in connecting with others. In his adult life, he struggles with alcoholism and a feeling of not belonging to society. Yozo uses humor and self-deprecation as defense mechanisms to cope with his inner emptiness and despair. I wrote my detailed thoughts about this book No Longer Human here.
Throughout the novel, Yozo’s life is characterised by a series of failed relationships, self-destructive behavior, and N inability to conform to societal norms. He constantly succumbs with the idea that he is no longer human and cannot fit into the world around him.
No Longer Human is a deeply introspective work that delves into themes of alienation, mental illness, and the search for meaning in a world that can be indifferent and unforgiving.
Dazai’s narrative style and exploration of the human condition have made this novel a classic of Japanese literature that continues to resonate with readers worldwide.
If the No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai is your kind of genre, this list is for you. I have compiled 15 best books like No Longer Human, a set that must be added to your list.
Books Similar To No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
Here’s quick run through of the best books like No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
- The Stranger by Albert Camus
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- The Plague by Albert Camus
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
- The Trial by Franz Kafka
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- The Outsider by Colin Wilson
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato
- The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- The Life of a Stupid Man by Akutagawa
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Stranger by Albert Camus tells the story of Meursault, an emotionally detached and apathetic Algerian Frenchman living in Algiers. The novel begins with Meursault’s indifferent response to his mother’s death and follows his actions, which eventually lead him to commit a senseless murder. The story explores Meursault’s existential outlook, his detachment from societal norms, and the consequences of his actions as he faces a trial and confronts the meaninglessness of life.
Meursault, the novel’s protagonist, is a man who lives his life in a state of emotional detachment and indifference. His life takes a turn when he attends his mother’s funeral but doesn’t display the expected grief. He goes on to become involved with a woman named Marie and later becomes embroiled in a conflict with Raymond, a neighbor. This conflict ultimately leads to Meursault committing a murder on a beach.
He is put on trial for his crime, but his indifference to societal norms and his refusal to conform to expectations make him an enigmatic and challenging figure for both the court and the reader. “The Stranger” is a philosophical work that raises questions about the human condition, morality, and the search for meaning in an indifferent world.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a classic novel narrated by its protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Holden is a disenchanted and alienated teenager who has been expelled from a prestigious prep school. The story unfolds over the course of a few days as Holden decides to run away from his family and embark on a journey in New York City.
Throughout the novel, Holden grapples with the phoniness and hypocrisy he perceives in the adult world. He shares his thoughts and experiences, often expressing his deep sense of alienation and cynicism. Holden’s narrative takes readers on a rollercoaster ride through his interactions with various people, his reflections on his past, and his desire to protect the innocence of his younger sister, Phoebe.
“The Catcher in the Rye” is a coming-of-age story that explores themes of alienation, innocence, identity, and the struggle to find one’s place in a world that seems fake and unfeeling. It remains a widely studied and cherished novel that has resonated with generations of readers for its portrayal of teenage angst and the search for authenticity in a complex and adult-oriented society.
Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
“Notes from Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a novella that delves into the mind of an unnamed, deeply troubled protagonist known as the Underground Man. Written in a first-person narrative style, the story is split into two parts.
In the first part, the Underground Man shares his cynical and self-reflective thoughts with the reader. He critiques society, rationality, and the idea of progress, arguing that humans are often driven by irrational impulses and desires. His character embodies a sense of alienation and despair.
The second part of the novella delves into the Underground Man’s past, particularly an encounter with a prostitute named Liza. This encounter serves as a reflection on the complexity of human nature and the conflict between base desires and the longing for connection and redemption.
“Notes from Underground” is a philosophical work that delves into themes of existentialism, alienation, free will, and the darker aspects of the human psyche. It is a challenging and introspective narrative that offers a profound exploration of the complexities of the human condition.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a semi-autobiographical novel that follows the life of Esther Greenwood, a young woman in the 1950s. Esther is a talented and ambitious writer who lands a prestigious internship in New York City. However, as she navigates the world of fashion, media, and high society, she begins to feel increasingly disconnected and trapped.
Esther’s mental health deteriorates, and she falls into a deep depression, struggling with feelings of isolation and despair. The novel chronicles her experiences as she goes through various treatments, including electroconvulsive therapy, in an attempt to find a sense of normalcy.
“The Bell Jar” offers a stark portrayal of a woman’s descent into mental illness and her struggles to break free from societal pressures and expectations. It is a poignant and honest exploration of identity, the challenges women faced in the mid-20th century, and the impact of mental illness on one’s sense of self and well-being.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
“Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace is a sprawling and complex novel set in a near-future America. The story revolves around the lives of various characters, including Hal Incandenza, a gifted tennis player, and James Incandenza, Hal’s father and a filmmaker who created a mysterious and entertaining film known as “Infinite Jest.”
The novel explores addiction, entertainment, and the pursuit of pleasure in a society that is both comically absurd and profoundly dysfunctional. It weaves together various plotlines, including those involving a halfway house for recovering addicts, a radical separatist group, and the Enfield Tennis Academy.
Throughout the novel, readers encounter a wide range of characters, each struggling with their own desires and obsessions. The narrative is non-linear and intricate, with footnotes and endnotes providing additional layers of storytelling.
Overall, “Infinite Jest” is a darkly humorous and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition in a world obsessed with entertainment and pleasure, offering a satirical look at addiction and the search for meaning in a fractured society.
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The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a young man who wakes up one morning to discover that he has transformed into a gigantic insect. The novella follows Gregor as he grapples with the physical and emotional challenges of his transformation.
As Gregor’s appearance changes, he becomes increasingly isolated from his family, who view him with fear and revulsion. He is unable to communicate with them and is confined to his room, where he contemplates his new existence.
The story explores themes of alienation, isolation, and the absurdity of life. It delves into the psychological and emotional turmoil that Gregor experiences as he struggles to adapt to his new form and the way his family reacts to him.
“The Metamorphosis” is a surreal and thought-provoking work that raises questions about identity, humanity, and the human condition. It is a classic of existential literature and has had a lasting impact on literature and philosophy.
The Plague by Albert Camus
“The Plague” by Albert Camus is a novel set in the fictional Algerian town of Oran, which is suddenly and inexplicably struck by an outbreak of bubonic plague. The story is narrated by Dr. Bernard Rieux, who becomes one of the central figures in the fight against the epidemic.
As the town is quarantined and cut off from the outside world, its residents are forced to confront the harsh realities of the plague, including isolation, suffering, and death. The novel follows several characters, including Dr. Rieux, as they grapple with the existential crisis brought on by the outbreak.
While “The Plague” is a story about a deadly disease and its devastating impact on a community, it is also a philosophical work that explores themes of absurdity, the human condition, and the search for meaning in the face of suffering and death. It raises questions about morality, solidarity, and the choices people make in the midst of a crisis.
“The Plague” is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that continues to resonate with readers for its exploration of the human response to a catastrophic event and the philosophical questions it poses.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey is a novel set in a mental institution and narrated by “Chief” Bromden, a patient who pretends to be deaf and dumb to avoid interactions with the oppressive staff. The story takes place in the 1960s and revolves around the arrival of Randle P. McMurphy, a charming and rebellious criminal who feigns insanity to escape prison.
McMurphy’s arrival disrupts the strict and dehumanizing routine of the institution, particularly the authoritarian Nurse Ratched, who embodies the oppressive nature of institutional authority. McMurphy’s antics and influence gradually empower the other patients to assert their individuality and question the control exerted by the institution.
The novel explores themes of power, conformity, rebellion, and the human spirit’s capacity for resistance. As McMurphy and Nurse Ratched clash, the story delves into the transformative effect of defiance and the cost of challenging a dehumanizing system.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a powerful and thought-provoking work that challenges societal norms and raises questions about mental health, individuality, and the nature of freedom. It is known for its memorable characters and its exploration of the boundaries of sanity and madness.
The Trial by Franz Kafka
“The Trial” by Franz Kafka is a novel that tells the story of Josef K., a seemingly ordinary man who is suddenly arrested and put on trial by a mysterious and inscrutable legal system. The novel begins with Josef K. waking up one morning to find himself under arrest for an unspecified crime, even though he is unaware of having committed any wrongdoing.
As Josef K. navigates the complex and labyrinthine legal process, he encounters a series of bizarre and often absurd characters and situations. The novel follows his attempts to defend himself against a faceless and oppressive bureaucracy, even as he struggles to understand the nature of his crime and the rules of the legal system.
“The Trial” is a surreal and existential work that explores themes of guilt, alienation, and the absurdity of the human condition. It raises questions about the nature of justice, the role of authority, and the individual’s place in a world governed by incomprehensible forces. Kafka’s writing is known for its sense of unease and disorientation, creating a sense of existential dread that has made the novel a classic of 20th-century literature.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy is a post-apocalyptic novel that follows the harrowing journey of a father and his young son as they navigate a desolate and decimated world. The novel is set in a bleak, ash-covered landscape where civilization has collapsed, and the few survivors must contend with scarcity, danger, and moral dilemmas.
The unnamed father and son are on a perilous quest to reach the coast, believing it may offer some hope for a better life. Along the way, they encounter other survivors, some of whom are desperate and dangerous, while others display acts of kindness and compassion.
The novel explores themes of survival, love, and the enduring bond between parent and child. It portrays the struggle to maintain one’s humanity and morality in the face of extreme adversity and despair.
“The Road” is a stark and unflinching work that paints a grim picture of a world ravaged by an unspecified catastrophe. Cormac McCarthy’s prose is spare and haunting, creating a visceral and emotionally charged narrative that delves into the depths of human resilience and the will to survive.
The Outsider by Colin Wilson
“The Outsider” by Colin Wilson is a non-fiction work that explores the concept of the “outsider” in society and literature. Wilson examines the lives and works of various artists, writers, and thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Franz Kafka, and Vincent van Gogh, who he considers to be outsiders—individuals who exist on the fringes of conventional society and who often grapple with existential questions and a sense of alienation.
The book delves into the existential and philosophical struggles faced by these outsiders, who often challenge societal norms and question the meaning of life. Wilson argues that the outsider’s perspective offers a unique and valuable insight into the human condition, as they are driven to explore the depths of existence and consciousness.
“The Outsider” is a thought-provoking and philosophical examination of the lives and works of individuals who have dared to question the status quo and challenge the boundaries of human experience. It reflects on the search for meaning and authenticity in a world that often values conformity and convention.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
“Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a novel that tells the story of Rodion Raskolnikov, a former student in St. Petersburg who commits a heinous crime. Raskolnikov, a highly intelligent but impoverished young man, becomes convinced that he is above the moral laws that govern ordinary people. In pursuit of an idea he calls the “extraordinary man” theory, he murders an elderly pawnbroker and her sister, believing that he is justified in doing so for the greater good.
The novel explores Raskolnikov’s psychological and moral turmoil as he grapples with the consequences of his crime. He is pursued by the relentless police detective Porfiry Petrovich, who suspects his involvement. As Raskolnikov’s mental state deteriorates, he forms a complex relationship with Sonia, a young woman forced into prostitution to support her family, and her unwavering faith in redemption.
“Crime and Punishment” is a profound examination of guilt, morality, and the human psyche. It delves into the inner workings of Raskolnikov’s mind as he wrestles with his actions and their moral implications. The novel is a timeless exploration of the complexities of the human condition and the consequences of transgression, making it one of Dostoevsky’s most enduring and thought-provoking works.
The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato
“The Tunnel” by Ernesto Sabato is a psychological thriller that follows the descent into madness of its protagonist, Juan Pablo Castel. The novel is narrated by Castel, who is an accomplished painter, and it takes the form of a confession as he reflects on the events that have led to his incarceration.
The story begins with Castel’s obsession with a woman named María, whom he believes is the embodiment of his artistic vision and soulmate. He becomes fixated on her, stalking her and eventually entering into a turbulent love affair. However, Castel’s jealousy and paranoia drive him to commit a shocking act of violence.
“The Tunnel” delves into the mind of a deeply disturbed and unreliable narrator, exploring themes of obsession, alienation, and the darker aspects of human nature. Castel’s narrative takes readers on a disturbing and introspective journey as he grapples with his actions and the irrationality of his own mind.
The novel is a psychological exploration of the fine line between genius and madness, and it raises questions about the nature of art, obsession, and the human capacity for self-destruction. “The Tunnel” is a gripping and thought-provoking work that delves into the complexities of the human psyche.
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“The Sorrows of Young Werther” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is a novel written in the form of letters and diary entries, and it is considered one of the foundational works of the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) literary movement. The novel is a romantic and emotional exploration of the life and inner thoughts of its young protagonist, Werther.
The story follows Werther, a sensitive and passionate young man who moves to a small German town. There, he becomes infatuated with Charlotte (Lotte), a beautiful and engaged woman. Despite her engagement to another man, Werther cannot suppress his intense feelings for her. The novel is composed of his letters and diary entries, chronicling his growing obsession with Charlotte and his emotional descent into despair.
As the novel progresses, Werther’s unrequited love leads to a profound sense of suffering and ultimately to a tragic conclusion. “The Sorrows of Young Werther” explores themes of love, passion, and the human capacity for intense emotion. It is often seen as a reflection of the Romantic era’s celebration of individualism and the power of emotion, as well as its exploration of the darker aspects of human nature.
The novel had a significant impact on European literature and culture, sparking a “Werther Fever” in the late 18th century, with young men emulating Werther’s dress and behavior. It remains a classic work that continues to be studied and appreciated for its exploration of the complexities of love and human emotion.
The Life of a Stupid Man by Akutagawa
“The Life of a Stupid Man” is a short story by Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa. The story is a fictionalized autobiography that reflects the inner turmoil and struggles of the author, who was known for his introspective and psychologically complex writing.
In “The Life of a Stupid Man,” the protagonist, who shares similarities with Akutagawa himself, recounts his life experiences and the various moments of despair, loneliness, and personal failures that have haunted him. The story is written in a fragmented and introspective style, with the narrator reflecting on his past and the choices he has made.
The narrative explores themes of identity, self-doubt, and the search for meaning in a world marked by personal and societal challenges. Akutagawa’s writing is known for its psychological depth and examination of the human condition, and “The Life of a Stupid Man” is a poignant example of his literary exploration of these themes. It is a work that delves into the complexities of the human psyche and the existential questions that confront individuals in their pursuit of understanding and meaning in life.
Books Like No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai – final Thoughts
This book list is perfect for you if you love to think about some stories that requires you to tap into your mental capabilities to think of their philosophical nuances.