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Profound Books Like “No Longer Human” For The Soul Searchers

Embark on a Journey With These Books Similar to "No Longer Human"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 8 2024

20 Soul-Searching Books Like 'No Longer Human'

“No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai is a poignant exploration of existential dread, alienation, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. This classic Japanese novel draws readers into the depths of its protagonist’s psyche, offering a raw and unfiltered look at the human condition.

If this masterpiece spurred your appetite for similarly introspective and soul-stirring narratives, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect list. Here, we explore 20 books that, like “No Longer Human,” delve into themes of identity, solitude, and existential angst, promising a journey that’s as enlightening as it is heart-rending.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai


1. “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath

Esther Greenwood’s descent into mental illness mirrors the existential despair and search for identity found in “No Longer Human”.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A deep exploration of mental illness and alienation.
  • Autobiographical elements that enhance the narrative’s authenticity.
  • A protagonist’s struggle with societal expectations and self-worth.


2. “The Stranger” by Albert Camus

Meursault’s indifferent reaction to his mother’s death and the subsequent events lead to a philosophical exploration of absurdism.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • Themes of existentialism and the absurd.
  • A detached protagonist navigating a seemingly meaningless world.
  • Reflections on mortality and the essence of humanity.


3. “Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami

Toru Watanabe’s retrospective journey through his past relationships delves into themes of love, loss, and existential questioning.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A focus on introspection and the impact of past traumas.
  • Complex characters dealing with loneliness and despair.
  • A narrative that weaves melancholy with fleeting moments of beauty.


4. “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Raskolnikov’s moral dilemmas and existential crisis after committing a murder probe the depths of human consciousness and guilt.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • The psychological depth exploring the darker aspects of the human psyche.
  • A protagonist wrestling with his philosophical justifications and moral conscience.
  • Themes of isolation and redemption.


5. “Nausea” by Jean-Paul Sartre

Antoine Roquentin’s grappling with existential nausea reveals the absurdity of existence and the search for meaning in a meaningless world.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A philosophical examination of existential angst and alienation.
  • The struggle to find meaning and authenticity in life.
  • A narrative marked by introspective depth and existential questioning.


6. “Notes from Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The unnamed narrator’s ramblings present a deep dive into self-imposed isolation, freedom, and existential despair.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A protagonist deeply introspective and critical of society.
  • The exploration of the individual’s struggle against societal norms.
  • An unflinching look at loneliness and despair.


7. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield’s cynical journey through New York City reflects his inner turmoil and quest for genuine human connections.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A youthful protagonist disillusioned with the adult world.
  • Themes of isolation, authenticity, and the pains of growing up.
  • A narrative voice that is raw and emotionally resonant.


8. “Kokoro” by Natsume Soseki

Astonishing in its depiction of complexities of human nature, “Kokoro” translates as “heart” and explores themes of isolation, guilt, and the gulf between generations.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • An emphasis on solitude and the difficulty of truly knowing another person.
  • A contemplation on changing societal values and the self’s place within it.
  • Deep, philosophical musings about loyalty, honesty, and the human condition.


9. “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki

Nao Yasutani’s diary reveals her contemplations on life and death, drawing parallels with themes of existential search and the interconnectedness of beings.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • An intimate look into a character’s psyche and her dealings with despair.
  • Reflections on the passage of time and the transient nature of existence.
  • A narrative that oscillates between hope and melancholy.


10. “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison

The unnamed Black protagonist’s journey for identity in a racially divided America touches on existential themes of visibility and the search for self.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • The struggle with personal identity in an indifferent or hostile society.
  • Themes of invisibility, societal rejection, and self-discovery.
  • A richly layered narrative offering deep social and philosophical insights.


11. “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

Gregor Samsa’s transformation into a monstrous vermin explores themes of alienation, familial duty, and the absurdity of the human condition.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • An allegorical tale reflecting on isolation and otherness.
  • The existential questioning of one’s purpose and place in the world.
  • A darkly comedic yet tragic narrative.


12. “Steppenwolf” by Hermann Hesse

Harry Haller’s struggle with his dual nature as a man and a wolf delves into the quest for understanding one’s true self amid societal constraints.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • The exploration of a divided self and the loneliness it entails.
  • A philosophical journey through despair and existential crisis.
  • Themes of self-discovery and the search for authenticity.


13. “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha’s spiritual journey in search of enlightenment mirrors the existential pursuit of understanding life’s true essence beyond societal labels.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A narrative centered around the quest for personal and spiritual meaning.
  • Reflections on the nature of self and the path to enlightenment.
  • A contemplative tone that invites reflection on one’s existence.


14. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera

Tomas, Teresa, and Sabina’s stories interweave in a complex exploration of love, freedom, and existential anguish in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • Philosophical musings on existence, love, and the decisions that shape our lives.
  • Themes of lightness versus weight in determining the value of our actions.
  • A deeply introspective narrative that challenges societal norms.


15. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Buendía family’s multigenerational saga in the fictional town of Macondo touches upon themes of time, magic, and existential melancholy.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A lush narrative blending reality with fantastical elements to explore the human psyche.
  • Themes of loneliness, fate, and the cyclical nature of history.
  • Richly drawn characters whose searches for meaning echo the protagonist’s in “No Longer Human”.


16. “The Book of Disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa

The fragmented musings of Bernardo Soares, a semi-heteronym of Pessoa, serve as a literary meditation on despair, loneliness, and the absurd.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A deeply introspective and fragmentary narrative.
  • The exploration of existential melancholy and the discomfort of being.
  • Meditations on the impossibility of true connection with others.


17. “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami

Tsukuru Tazaki’s journey to reconnect with his past friends explores themes of isolation, identity, and the pain and necessity of change.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • An introspective protagonist dealing with feelings of emptiness and unbelonging.
  • A narrative that explores the impact of past relationships on the self.
  • Themes of loneliness and the quest for self-understanding.


18. “Demons” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Also known as “The Devils” or “The Possessed,” this novel dissects the destructive consequences of ideological possession and the existential void it leaves.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • A critical examination of societal disintegration and the search for meaning.
  • Complex characters undergoing profound existential crises.
  • Themes of moral ambiguity and the struggle for personal identity.


19. “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf

The Ramsay family’s vacations and the philosophical reflections they inspire depict the search for meaning and the ephemeral nature of existence.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • Stream-of-consciousness narrative exploring individual perceptions and existential questions.
  • Themes of time, memory, and the subjective nature of reality.
  • A poignant meditation on human relationships and the pursuit of self-realization.


20. “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett

Two men waiting for the never-appearing Godot engage in a variety of discussions and meet several characters, reflecting on existential themes of life, waiting, and meaninglessness.

Elements in common with “No Longer Human”:

  • The theme of existential waiting and the absurdity of life.
  • Characters trapped in their quest for meaning in an incomprehensible world.
  • A minimalist setting that amplifies the philosophical dialogue and introspection.

In conclusion, for those who were moved by “No Longer Human,” these 20 books offer a rich tapestry of existential exploration, each a window into the profound depths of the human experience. Through narratives of introspection, isolation, and the relentless quest for identity, they promise not merely an escape but a deep, resonant connection with the complexities of the human soul.

So, embark on this journey of discovery and reflection. Happy reading!


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