Book - 1979
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"Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama." Irving Howe. -- The New York Times Review Of Books
*** Susaku Endo is Japan's foremost novelist, and Silence is generally regarded to be his masterpiece. In a perfect fusion of treatment and theme, this powerful novel tells the story of a seventeenth Portuguese priest in Japan at the height of the fearful persecution of the small Christian community.
*** "A major talent, Endo makes an impressive debut here with this novel, a bravura admixture of history, theological quandaries and rugged characterizations... Endo's achievement rests on... splendid characters, the restrained classical way he tells of their ordeals, and his sensitivity to the clash between Japanese culture and a very Western mode of religion." - Publishers Weekly
*** "A Japanese novelist of considerable distinction. Silence is impressive ibecause of its simplicity and its harrowing account of men of faith in a faith-denying situation. It is worthy of our serious contemplation and respect." - San Francisco Review of Books
*** "A profoundly moving, profoundly disturbing book... The translation by William Johnston is a brilliant, subtle piece of work with not a line akilter." - Washington Post Book World
*** "The calvary of Father Rodrigues is so brilliantly brought before us that even if no such person ever existed, he lives now... This is the best book on a Christian theme that I have read for years." - America
*** About the Author
Shusaku Endo was born in Tokyo in 1923. He specialized in French literature at Keio University and then studied for several years in France on a scholarship from the Japanese goverment. His novels, which are now being widely translated throughout the world, have established him as the leading writer in Japan.
*** BREAKING NEWS *** SILENCE, Director Martin Scorsese's latest movie, is due to be released in 2016 and will star Liam Neeson, Andrew Gaefield and Adam Driver.

Publisher: New York : Taplinger Pub. Co., 1979, c1976
ISBN: 9780800871864
Characteristics: 294 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Endō, Shūsaku 1923-1996 Chinmoku


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Jan 27, 2018

Endo's 'Silence' is a modern classic and a must-read for theologically-inclined Christian readers. (I suspect non-Christian readers will find the character's central choice much less interesting but will still enjoy a well-written historical fiction.) Endo's prose (and Johnston's translation) is efficient and effortlessly successful, a mammoth task for a novel of such depth.

Ultimately the genius of this work is it's tremendous staying power in lieu of a decision: it lingers for days or weeks until the reader evaluates the protagonist's central choice and puts the matter to rest. This amounts to a serious and profound moment for those who read and contend with this book.

Sep 26, 2017

Although based on real historical figures, this is a historical fiction book, with interesting detail about the introduction of Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism, in 17th century japan. There is also a lot of debating of catholic dogma, with focus on the problems of evil in the world and faith versus human compassion. I found the lengthy theological discussions excessive. I much preferred the livelier exposition of similar topics in Emmanuel Carrere's "The Kingdom".

Apr 05, 2017

Intense, thought provoking and worthwhile. It'll be interesting to see how the movie survives a 3rd or (or 4th), translation.

Mar 25, 2017

Powerful story of the Japanese repression of Christianity through the internal struggle of an evangelizing Catholic Portuguese priest coming to Japan. The book gives lots to ponder about. There are strong historical parallels to the British repression of Catholicism in Ireland.

Mar 17, 2017

Questions raised by this book are timeless - what is faith? why does God answer/not answer me? is martyrdom required? is mine the only true religion? what is the true religion? do I believe the same as others? are converts really converts?
The Jesuit Father Rodriguez is sent to Japan to minister to the secret Christian converts whose very lives are in danger from the Japanese rulers anti-Christian decree. Thus starts his journey of faith. He is captured and must apostatize but can he? His captor is Inoue, a Japanese who was a convert and became a priest but is now an inquisitor. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking.

Feb 05, 2017

An interesting look at Christian missionaries in Japan in the 1700's during a time when Christianity was outlawed and Christians were tortured for their beliefs. Many theological questions are addressed but the primary one is where is God in our suffering? The book is very well written and has many parallels to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. I believe enjoyment of the book helps if you have some knowledge of Christianity and Jesus' story.

Dec 28, 2016

Definitely something is lost in translation, having said that, this novel resonates with existential silence, a crisis of faith, and those readers interested in the persecuted, tortured and martyred Japanese Christians at a time when Christianity was outlawed in feudal Japan will enjoy reading this novel. Any person of faith who has ever experience a dark night of the soul will deeply appreciate the beauty of this novel.

Nov 14, 2016

Silence of the God, greatness and beauty of evils...
Recommend to those who have religious upbringing, as I can imagine Rodrigues's dramatic journey is moving and illuminating. To me, I found the volume of beautiful prose, a thin but rather long book, achieved an effect redundant.
One (small) inspiration, my faith seems to be stronger than those who worship God.
I'm still intrigued, why Marty likes this book, is he retiring? I almost enjoy every movie he made, but for this upcoming one, aside from haunting visual effects, I'm not interested in the transpired messages.

Oct 25, 2016

This story was really, really powerful and meaningful. I highly recommend it and look forward to the new film.

LMcShaneCLE Feb 16, 2016

If you are a fan of Graham Greene's writing exploring spiritual and cultural crisis of faith- think The Power and Glory - this book will sweep you away to seventeenth century Japan (soon to be a major motion picture with Liam Neeson and Ciarán Hinds! ).

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