Download high-resolution image
Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00

Men Without Women

Stories

Listen to a clip from the audiobook
audio pause button
0:00
0:00
NATIONAL BESTSELLER Including the story "Drive My Car”—now an Academy Award–nominated film—this collection from the internationally acclaimed author "examines what happens to characters without important women in their lives; it'll move you and confuse you and sometimes leave you with more questions than answers" (Barack Obama).

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are lovesick doctors, students, ex-boyfriends, actors, bartenders, and even Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, brought together to tell stories that speak to us all. In Men Without Women Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic, marked by the same wry humor and pathos that have defined his entire body of work.
© Elena Seibert
HARUKI MURAKAMI was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and one of the most recent of his many international honors is the Cino Del Duca World Prize, whose previous recipients include Jorge Luis Borges, Ismail Kadare, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Joyce Carol Oates. View titles by Haruki Murakami
The call came in after one a.m. and woke me up. Phones ringing in the middle of the night always sound harsh and grating, like some savage metal tool out to destroy the world. I felt it was my duty, as a member of the human race, to put a stop to it, so I got out of bed, padded over to the living room, and picked up the receiver.

A man’s low voice informed me that a woman had vanished from this world forever. The voice belonged to the woman’s husband. At least that’s what he said. And he went on. My wife committed suicide last Wednesday, he said. In any case, I thought I should let you know. In any case. As far as I could make out, there was not a drop of emotion in his voice. It was like he was reading lines meant for a telegram, with barely any space at all between each word. An announcement, pure and simple. Unadorned reality. Period.

What did I say in response? I must have said something, but I can’t recall. At any rate, there was a prolonged period of silence. Like a deep hole in the middle of the road that the two of us were staring into from opposite sides. Then, without a word, as if he were gently placing a fragile piece of artwork on the floor, the man hung up. I stood there, in a white T-shirt and blue boxers, pointlessly clutching the phone.

How did he know about me? I have no idea. Had she mentioned my name to her husband, as an old boyfriend? But why? And how did he know my phone number (which was unlisted)? In the first place, why me? Why would her husband go to the trouble of calling me to let me know his wife had died? I couldn’t imagine she’d left a request like that in a farewell note. We’d broken up years earlier. And we’d never seen each other since–not even once. We had never even talked on the phone.

That’s neither here nor there. The bigger problem was that he didn’t explain a single thing to me. He thought he needed to let me know his wife had killed herself. And somehow he’d gotten hold of my phone number. Beyond that, though–nothing. It seemed his intention was to leave me stuck somewhere in the middle, dangling between knowledge and ignorance. But why? To get me thinking about something?

Like what?
One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, and Esquire

“[A] beguilingly irresistible book. Like a lost lover, it holds on tight long after the affair is over. . . . Part allegory, part myth, part magic realism, part Philip Marlowe, private eye. . . . Murakami puts the performance in performance art.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Time and again in these seven stories, Murakami displays his singular genius. . . . The stories in this collection find their power within the confines of common but momentous disturbances that linger on in memory.” —Los Angeles Times
 
“Mesmerizing tales of profound alienation. . . . Murakami is a master of the open-ended mystery.” —The Washington Post
 
“Beautifully rendered. . . . Murakami at his whimsical, romantic best. . . . [He] writes of complex things with his usual beguiling simplicity—the same seeming naivety found in the Beatles songs that are so often his reference points. The stories read like dirges for ‘all the lonely people’ but they are strangely invigorating to read.” —Financial Times
 
“Classic Murakami. . . . [His] voice—cool, poised, witty, characterized by a peculiar blend of whimsy and poignancy, wit and profundity—hasn’t lost its power to unsettle even as it amuses.” —The Boston Globe
 
“A whimsical delight. . . . The seven stories in his fourth story collection present another captivating treasure hunt of familiar Murakami motifs—including cats, jazz, whiskey, certain cigarettes, the moon, baseball, never-named characters, and—of course—the many men without women. . . . Murakami always manages to entertain, surprise, and satisfy. . . . Sanity might be overrated, but Murakami is surely not.” —The Christian Science Monitor
 
“Wise stories. . . . Moody and melancholic as [they] can be, some of them offer comparable hope that these men without women might emerge from their long and isolating loneliness, acknowledging the hurt, pain and even rage they feel rather than folding in on themselves and ceasing to fully live.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
 
Men Without Women has the familiar signposts and well-worn barstools that will reconnect with longtime readers of Murakami: magical realism, Beatles tracks and glasses of whiskey. Yet, except for a few tales, the magic is watered down and it’s reality that is now poured stiff. . . . This collection is a sober, clear-eyed attempt to observe the evasion and confrontation of suffering and loss, and to hope for something better.” —New York Daily News
 
“It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten something new from Japan’s master of magical realism, but this new seven-story collection draws us right back into his signature realm—one of lonely men with wandering imaginations, mysterious cats, and subtle-yet-surreal narratives that reveal the supernatural layer operating beneath our everyday lives.” —W Magazine
 
“Vintage Murakami. . . .  Compellingly odd. . . . A glimpse into the strange worlds people invent by the always inventive [author]. . . . Elegant.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Thought-provoking.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“Superb.” —SF Weekly
 
“A new Haruki Murakami book is always cause for celebration. . . . These stories are filled with all of the luminous, magical elements that make Murakami's writing so fascinating.” —Bustle
 
“Funny and surreal.” —io9
 
“A funny, lovely, unmistakably Murakami collection.” —BuzzFeed

About

NATIONAL BESTSELLER Including the story "Drive My Car”—now an Academy Award–nominated film—this collection from the internationally acclaimed author "examines what happens to characters without important women in their lives; it'll move you and confuse you and sometimes leave you with more questions than answers" (Barack Obama).

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are lovesick doctors, students, ex-boyfriends, actors, bartenders, and even Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, brought together to tell stories that speak to us all. In Men Without Women Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic, marked by the same wry humor and pathos that have defined his entire body of work.

Author

© Elena Seibert
HARUKI MURAKAMI was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and one of the most recent of his many international honors is the Cino Del Duca World Prize, whose previous recipients include Jorge Luis Borges, Ismail Kadare, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Joyce Carol Oates. View titles by Haruki Murakami

Excerpt

The call came in after one a.m. and woke me up. Phones ringing in the middle of the night always sound harsh and grating, like some savage metal tool out to destroy the world. I felt it was my duty, as a member of the human race, to put a stop to it, so I got out of bed, padded over to the living room, and picked up the receiver.

A man’s low voice informed me that a woman had vanished from this world forever. The voice belonged to the woman’s husband. At least that’s what he said. And he went on. My wife committed suicide last Wednesday, he said. In any case, I thought I should let you know. In any case. As far as I could make out, there was not a drop of emotion in his voice. It was like he was reading lines meant for a telegram, with barely any space at all between each word. An announcement, pure and simple. Unadorned reality. Period.

What did I say in response? I must have said something, but I can’t recall. At any rate, there was a prolonged period of silence. Like a deep hole in the middle of the road that the two of us were staring into from opposite sides. Then, without a word, as if he were gently placing a fragile piece of artwork on the floor, the man hung up. I stood there, in a white T-shirt and blue boxers, pointlessly clutching the phone.

How did he know about me? I have no idea. Had she mentioned my name to her husband, as an old boyfriend? But why? And how did he know my phone number (which was unlisted)? In the first place, why me? Why would her husband go to the trouble of calling me to let me know his wife had died? I couldn’t imagine she’d left a request like that in a farewell note. We’d broken up years earlier. And we’d never seen each other since–not even once. We had never even talked on the phone.

That’s neither here nor there. The bigger problem was that he didn’t explain a single thing to me. He thought he needed to let me know his wife had killed herself. And somehow he’d gotten hold of my phone number. Beyond that, though–nothing. It seemed his intention was to leave me stuck somewhere in the middle, dangling between knowledge and ignorance. But why? To get me thinking about something?

Like what?

Praise

One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, and Esquire

“[A] beguilingly irresistible book. Like a lost lover, it holds on tight long after the affair is over. . . . Part allegory, part myth, part magic realism, part Philip Marlowe, private eye. . . . Murakami puts the performance in performance art.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Time and again in these seven stories, Murakami displays his singular genius. . . . The stories in this collection find their power within the confines of common but momentous disturbances that linger on in memory.” —Los Angeles Times
 
“Mesmerizing tales of profound alienation. . . . Murakami is a master of the open-ended mystery.” —The Washington Post
 
“Beautifully rendered. . . . Murakami at his whimsical, romantic best. . . . [He] writes of complex things with his usual beguiling simplicity—the same seeming naivety found in the Beatles songs that are so often his reference points. The stories read like dirges for ‘all the lonely people’ but they are strangely invigorating to read.” —Financial Times
 
“Classic Murakami. . . . [His] voice—cool, poised, witty, characterized by a peculiar blend of whimsy and poignancy, wit and profundity—hasn’t lost its power to unsettle even as it amuses.” —The Boston Globe
 
“A whimsical delight. . . . The seven stories in his fourth story collection present another captivating treasure hunt of familiar Murakami motifs—including cats, jazz, whiskey, certain cigarettes, the moon, baseball, never-named characters, and—of course—the many men without women. . . . Murakami always manages to entertain, surprise, and satisfy. . . . Sanity might be overrated, but Murakami is surely not.” —The Christian Science Monitor
 
“Wise stories. . . . Moody and melancholic as [they] can be, some of them offer comparable hope that these men without women might emerge from their long and isolating loneliness, acknowledging the hurt, pain and even rage they feel rather than folding in on themselves and ceasing to fully live.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
 
Men Without Women has the familiar signposts and well-worn barstools that will reconnect with longtime readers of Murakami: magical realism, Beatles tracks and glasses of whiskey. Yet, except for a few tales, the magic is watered down and it’s reality that is now poured stiff. . . . This collection is a sober, clear-eyed attempt to observe the evasion and confrontation of suffering and loss, and to hope for something better.” —New York Daily News
 
“It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten something new from Japan’s master of magical realism, but this new seven-story collection draws us right back into his signature realm—one of lonely men with wandering imaginations, mysterious cats, and subtle-yet-surreal narratives that reveal the supernatural layer operating beneath our everyday lives.” —W Magazine
 
“Vintage Murakami. . . .  Compellingly odd. . . . A glimpse into the strange worlds people invent by the always inventive [author]. . . . Elegant.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Thought-provoking.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“Superb.” —SF Weekly
 
“A new Haruki Murakami book is always cause for celebration. . . . These stories are filled with all of the luminous, magical elements that make Murakami's writing so fascinating.” —Bustle
 
“Funny and surreal.” —io9
 
“A funny, lovely, unmistakably Murakami collection.” —BuzzFeed

Books for LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

In June we celebrate Pride Month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan and highlights the accomplishments of those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual + (LGBTQIA+) community, while recognizing the ongoing struggles faced by many across the world who wish to live as their most authentic selves. Here is

Read more

PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

Read more

PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

Read more

PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

Read more