Men Without Women, Haruki Murakami, 2017

In these 7 strange and haunting stories, Murakami explores the relationships between men and women primarily through the effect of the loss of the loved woman on the man. An actor loses his unfaithful wife to cancer and befriends one of her lovers; a college student is urged by his friend to date the friend’s childhood love and then encounters her still single late in life; a bachelor plastic surgeon chooses to starve himself to death when he falls in love unsuccessfully with one of his many mistresses; a woman hired to ‘serve’ a man confined to a House; a man discovers his wife’s infidelity, divorces her, and opens a bar but is made to disappear in order to discover his deep hurt; Gregor Samsa appears in Prague and falls in love with a hunchback; a man gets a call in the middle of the night that a woman he loved years ago has committed suicide. In each of these surreal settings, Murakami explores what love, loss, and memory mean for men without women. Weird and unsettling.