“What are some good Loner books I can read?”
It’s no surprise that a lot of the LonerWolf community has a deep passion for the written word. Many of those who come to our site are struggling with self-discovery and self-acceptance, wishing to find self-acceptance for their solitary natures.
My observation and experience when I have helped some of these people through my own self-growth, is that when the person feels they’re being personally criticized, argued with or attacked, they’ll respond by fighting back. Pointing out flaws often results in arguments, and when you begin an argument you’re inviting them to judge and evaluate your criticism.
Stories on the other hand work as a metaphor. You feel engaged by the story, you identify yourself with the characters and feel involved, allowing you to receive the messages of the story indirectly.
Fictional writing is not just entertaining, it can be very insightful as well.
Here are some intriguing, socially awkward loner authors that have written fictional books about a variety of fascinating loner protagonists. Enjoy!
4 Loner Book Authors
In order to understand the true essence of a loner, you have to be one yourself. Kafka was a writer who vividly portrayed a Schizoid Personality, using avoidance in adult life in order to write as a way of preventing attachment to people. Kafka desperately craved love but at the same time feared close involvement, which is why he had a long distant love affair via mail. He found it hard to connect to anyone, claiming he had never been able to hold a prolonged conversation in which he had really revealed himself. One of his letters reads:
But if I’m in an unfamiliar place, among a number of strange people, or people whom I feel to be strangers, then the whole room presses on my chest and I am unable to move, my whole personality seems virtually to get under their skins, and everything becomes hopeless.
During childhood and adolescence, Kafka was deeply ashamed of his body, which he considered disgracefully skinny and weak. He was also unable to work if someone was watching him, and struggled hard to write, because as he said, what he wanted to write could not be written. Yet he produced some of the most influential, passion-infused stories of his generation, producing characters that deeply reflected the feeling of being an outsider, pursuing the unreachable, and now labelled ‘Kafkaesque’ themes of loneliness and alienation. Among my favourites are: The Metamorphosis, The Trial and The Castle.
“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?” ~ Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami has been praised as one of the world’s greatest living novelists. His books often deal with easily accessible topics such as the feelings of emptiness, loneliness and not belonging, infusing his novels with his own profound complexity and thought-provoking ideas. Murakami is often thought of as a modern Japanese writer-prophet. Just like his dreamy and introverted down-to-earth protagonists, Haruki Murakami has few friends and never attends parties.
“Spiritually I was with the protesters but I couldn’t co-operate. I’m a lone wolf”, Murakami was once recorded saying. He’s also spoken of his college days as an unremarkable student, when his generation’s idealism lead to the 1968 student riots in Tokyo. “My heroes don’t have anything special. They have something to tell other people but they don’t know how, so they talk to themselves.” He originally intended to become a scriptwriter but then realized “to make a movie is a collective art. So I gave up wanting to be a scriptwriter”. Among my favourite books of his are: Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
“Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.” ~ Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
Neal Stephenson is renown for his desire to stay “out of touch”. He rarely does public appearances and his cult following considers him a reclusive literary genius adding more fuel to the mystery behind his image. On his website Stephenson explains that every productive thing that he does requires all of his attention. He hates distractions so he tries to avoid them as much as possible. A few years ago he proclaimed himself as an introvert after finding the Caring For Your Introvert article on The Atlantic website:
More recently I found an article in the Atlantic Monthly by Jonathan Rauch that describes my personality with uncanny accuracy. It explains why, whenever I find myself in a room full of people, or discover a lot of e-mail from strangers in my inbox, my first thought is: “where did all these people come from and how do I make them go away?” This—i.e. the discovery that I am a classic introvert—does not render “Bad Correspondent” invalid, but it does fill out the picture a little. In particular, extroverts ought to read this article!
His novels have been variously categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and “postcyberpunk.” Other labels, such as “baroque,” often appear. Stephenson’s books tend to have elaborate, inventive plots drawing on numerous technological and sociological ideas at the same time. His novels most often have a loner/outsider character and cover everything from history and linguistics, to anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics, and philosophy. Amongst my favourites are: Snowcrash, Zodiac and Cryptonomicon.
We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being. ~ Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse’s work tends to follow the path of his own life, and his protagonists wrestle with the same problems that he faced. Hesse was constantly battling with the conflict of the mind and the body, as well as the spiritual world and the sensual one. He desperately craved social acceptance, but found himself to be awkward and a natural born loner. He wondered whether the role of the artist was inevitably to be an outsider, an observer, but not a participant in life.
These questions and more are mirrored in his fiction, as he uses his characters to live out the different paths available to him, and the readers are reminded of similar dualities in their own lives. His novels tend to feature pairs of characters, one representing the ideal he wishes he could achieve, and one the less romantic reality he knows he must accept. Amongst my favourites are: Steppenwolf, The Glass Bead Game, Demian and Siddhartha.
I’d like to know: what are some loner/outsider characters in fictional books that you’ve enjoyed reading?