Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Men Without Women
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- Hennessy New Irish Writing: February 2019’s winning poems
- The Uninhabitable Earth review: Astonishingly reductive view of impending disaster
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Murakami’s much-anticipated collection of short stories is as perfectly crafted as one would expect, taking an uncomfortably forensic look at the most intimate details of relationships.
The central tenet plays with the question of what men are without women; none of Murakami’s men appear to be particularly improved by women. In Drive My Car an actor is surprised by the empathy of his female chauffeur; Scheherazade holds a twist on the Arabian Nights as a rather matronly woman regularly visits an inexplicably house-bound man and tells him tales after they have sex.
One of the most striking tales is Independent Organ in which a plastic surgeon pines to death on finally falling in love after years of carefree dalliances. It carries the harshest indictment on women; that they have a special capacity to lie, as if they possess an “organ” specifically for it. Men merely suffer, as they lack the “organ” that helps them to deal with love so they become its victims.