No Longer Human Book Summary - No Longer Human Book explained in key points

No Longer Human summary

Juliet Winters Carpenter, Osamu Dazai

Brief summary

No Longer Human is a compelling novel by Osamu Dazai that delves into the dark and introspective journey of a man struggling to find his place in the world. It offers a raw and thought-provoking exploration of human nature and the masks we wear to fit into society.

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    No Longer Human
    Summary of key ideas

    Struggles of a Disconnected Soul

    In No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter, we are introduced to the protagonist, Oba Yozo, who is a young man struggling with a deep sense of alienation from the world around him. Yozo's life is marked by a series of traumatic events, starting from his childhood, which shape his perception of himself and others.

    Yozo's early years are characterized by his inability to fit in with his peers and his strained relationship with his parents. He adopts a facade of a clown, using humor to mask his inner turmoil. This facade becomes a defining feature of his personality, allowing him to navigate social situations while concealing his true feelings of despair and disconnection.

    Escapades and Relationships

    As Yozo grows older, he continues to struggle with his sense of identity and purpose. He attends art school, where he forms a close friendship with a fellow student, Horiki. Horiki, who is a self-proclaimed hedonist, introduces Yozo to a life of debauchery and excess, leading him further away from his true self.

    Yozo's relationships with women are equally tumultuous. He marries a woman named Shizuko, but their marriage is marked by infidelity and emotional distance. Yozo's inability to form genuine connections with others, coupled with his self-destructive tendencies, leads to a series of failed relationships and a deepening sense of isolation.

    Downward Spiral

    As the story progresses, Yozo's mental health deteriorates, and he becomes increasingly detached from reality. He descends into a cycle of alcoholism, drug abuse, and self-harm, using these vices as a means of coping with his inner turmoil. Yozo's life becomes a series of fleeting moments of pleasure followed by prolonged periods of despair.

    Despite his struggles, Yozo continues to maintain his facade of the clown, using humor to deflect attention from his deteriorating mental state. He becomes adept at presenting a version of himself that is acceptable to society, all the while feeling like a 'no longer human' - a phrase he uses to describe his profound sense of disconnection from the world.

    The Final Act

    The novel reaches its climax when Yozo's life hits rock bottom. He is abandoned by his wife, rejected by his family, and left with nothing but his inner demons. In a moment of desperation, Yozo attempts suicide, but his attempt fails, leaving him in a state of limbo between life and death.

    As the novel draws to a close, Yozo reflects on his life, acknowledging the futility of his existence. He realizes that his inability to connect with others and his constant pursuit of pleasure have led him to this point of despair. In a final act of defiance, Yozo decides to embrace his true self, shedding his clown persona and accepting his 'no longer human' status.


    In conclusion, No Longer Human is a poignant exploration of one man's struggle with identity, mental illness, and societal expectations. Through Yozo's story, Osamu Dazai sheds light on the darker aspects of the human experience, challenging us to confront our own inner demons and the masks we wear to navigate the world. The novel serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of authenticity and genuine human connection in a world that often values superficial appearances over inner truths.

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    What is No Longer Human about?

    No Longer Human is a novel by Osamu Dazai that delves into the dark and introspective journey of a young man named Yozo. Through a series of confessional notes, Yozo reveals his struggles with alienation, self-destructive behavior, and the inability to connect with others. The book offers a raw and unflinching exploration of the human condition and the search for identity.

    No Longer Human Review

    No Longer Human (1948) is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that explores the depths of human despair and alienation. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through its raw and brutally honest portrayal of the main character's inner turmoil, the book delves deep into the complexities of human nature and the struggles of fitting in.
    • The author's unflinching examination of societal expectations and the profound impact of one's upbringing provides unique insights into the human condition.
    • With its haunting narrative and profound exploration of existential themes, No Longer Human challenges readers to contemplate their own struggles and question the meaning of life.

    Who should read No Longer Human?

    • Readers who are interested in exploring the complexities of the human condition
    • Those who enjoy introspective and thought-provoking narratives
    • Individuals looking for insight into mental health and existential struggles

    About the Author

    Juliet Winters Carpenter is a renowned translator of Japanese literature. She has translated numerous works by Osamu Dazai, including his most famous novel, No Longer Human. Carpenter's skillful translations have brought Dazai's captivating storytelling to a wider audience. Her dedication to preserving the essence of the original text while making it accessible to English-speaking readers has earned her critical acclaim in the field of literary translation.

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    No Longer Human FAQs 

    What is the main message of No Longer Human?

    The main message of No Longer Human revolves around the complexities of human nature and the struggle to find genuine connection and belonging.

    How long does it take to read No Longer Human?

    The reading time for No Longer Human varies depending on the reader's pace, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is No Longer Human a good book? Is it worth reading?

    No Longer Human is a compelling and thought-provoking book, delving into the depths of the human experience. It's definitely worth a read for those interested in introspection and existential themes.

    Who is the author of No Longer Human?

    The author of No Longer Human is Osamu Dazai.

    What to read after No Longer Human?

    If you're wondering what to read next after No Longer Human, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • On Being by Peter Atkins
    • Immortality by Stephen Cave
    • Plato at the Googleplex by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
    • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
    • The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels