“I am the sort of person who can forget even the name of the woman with whom he attempted suicide,” says Yozo Oba in “No Longer Human.” It’s the sort of throwaway line that deserves its own novel.

In 1948, Shuji Tsushima, writing under the pen name Osamu Dazai, published the last of the serialized “No Longer Human” and died from suicide shortly after. The slim, grim novel about an intelligent young derelict became a contemporary classic and perennial bestseller in Japan.

The Flowers of Buffoonery, by Osamu Dazai,Translated by Sam Bett.96 pagesNEW DIRECTIONS, Fiction.