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Silence
     

Silence

4.8 10
by Shusaku Endo, William Johnston (Translator), Martin Scorsese (Foreword by)
 

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Shusaku Endo's classic novel of enduring faith in dangerous times, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver

"Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama."-The New York Review of Books

Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese

Overview

Shusaku Endo's classic novel of enduring faith in dangerous times, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver

"Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama."-The New York Review of Books

Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to a country hostile to their religion, where feudal lords force the faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs. Shusaku Endo is one of the most celebrated and well-known Japanese fiction writers of the twentieth century, and Silence is widely considered to be his great masterpiece.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Thought-provoking and moving… Complex and multilayered… [Silence] is a great achievement, and I love the book.” – David Mitchell, author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas

Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama.” – The New York Review of Books

“One of the best historical novels by anyone, ever.” —David Mitchell (from an interview on Foyles.com)

“Somber, delicate, and startlingly empathetic.” —John Updike (from Endo’s New York Times obituary)

“Endo has been repeatedly, tiresomely, compared to Graham Greene, who warmly praised [Silence]. . . . But Greene’s fascination with sin and guilt looks very tame when put beside Endo’s.” —Gary Wills, The New York Review of Books

“A masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama about a Portuguese missionary tormented by Japanese inquisitors.” —Irving Howe, The New York Review of Books

“Endo’s disarmingly direct and poignant narration masks a complex moral discussion.” —Robert Coles, New Oxford Review

“Endo’s grandest novel.” —Robert Winder, Independent (London)

“Endo succeeds in creating a vision of Christian faith obstinate enough to endure even in soils that have never been fertile for its growth.” —The CS Lewis Review

“At the height of his powers, the author produced two historical masterworks, [including] Silence.” —Crisis Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250082275
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
01/10/2017
Series:
Picador Modern Classics Series
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
36,851
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.72(d)

Meet the Author

SHUSAKU ENDO, born in Tokyo in 1923, was raised by his mother and an aunt in Kobe where he converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of eleven. At Tokyo's Keio University he majored in French literature, graduating BA in 1949, before furthering his studies in French Catholic literature at the University of Lyon in France between 1950 and 1953. Before his death in 1996, Endo was the recipient of a number of outstanding Japanese literary awards: the Akutagawa Prize, Mainichi Cultural Prize, Shincho Prize, and the Tanizaki Prize, and was widely considered the greatest Japanese novelist of his time.

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Silence 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shusaku Endo writes as a Japanese Catholic and often addresses the clash between the two. They don't seem to fit together. But if there's one area where Endo and Catholicism fit perfectly on the same page, it is in their mastery of the paradoxical. The faithful apostate, the holy sinner, the sinful saint, the silence that speaks the loudest, the living martyr, the successful failure. Endo takes us into a web of paradox, challenging belief and disbelief alike, challenging notions of black and white and leaving the reader in an abyss of gray in which the truth is ultimately found. And the truth, as Endo makes clear and unclear, is paradoxical. This is one of the best books I have ever read. Emotionally wrenching, mentally (and spiritually) challenging, and wholly fulfilling. Silence, the book that says so much. I recommend it for everyone. Enjoy!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is truly worth the read. It raises hard, truth-seeking questions about our conceptions of who Jesus Christ really was and what his role in our lives. Writing with a post-modern flare, Endo challenges the conception of the telos of the Christian life in an honest and poignant way many Christian writers of the last 50 have not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1614, Japan banished Christianity, and from 1619, it began to execute Christians. Later, it opted on more excruciating measures by torturing Christians to death until they apostatized. The Church, afraid that Christianity might die out in Japan, sent some missionaries to spread Christianity secretly in Japan and work underground. However many of the fathers were caught, d, and killed by the Japanese officials. The Church had been receiving letters from Father Ferreira about the conditions of Christians in Japan and other news, until suddenly the letters stopped coming. Worried and curious about what could have happened to the Father, the church, few years later, sends Father Rodrigues and Father Garrpe on deadly mission to find what became of Father Ferreira and to report on the condition of the Christians in Japan. A Japanese man called Kichijiro leads the two fathers to Japan. Kichijiro is Christian, but vehemently denies it. After arriving at Japan, Kichijiro brings them to a where there are Christians. The villagers are ecstatic, that finally fathers have come to guide them and hear their sufferings. The villagers build a hideout for the fathers to live secretly so that the guards won¿t find out. However, luck runs out and the guards hear the rumors that there are two priests in hiding. They ransack the village and take three villagers, whom they tie up on big pole and leave them at the shore until tide comes and drowns them. Anguished the fathers decide to split up and leave the village. Father Garrpe goes north while Father Rodrigues makes his way toward Nagasaki where he heard are hundreds of Christians in hiding. However, on his way, Father Rodrigues finds Kichijiro, who tricks him and leads him directly to the guards. The guards put the Father in prison for many days, starving and thirsty. They command him to apostatize, but he refuses. Then the guards tie him, and drag him around the town. They command him to apostatize, but he refuses. Then they take him back to the prison and leave him in the prison without any water or food. During this time, Father Rodrigues learns that Father Ferreira is still alive. A few days later Father Rodrigues encounter Inoue, ¿the terror for the Christians. (35)¿ Inoue says that Father Rodrigues will sooner or later apostatize, just like the other, just like Father Ferreira. According to him, the ¿swamp of Japan will swallow him.¿ Inoue challenges Father Rodrigues by asking, why the God remains silent while his people are suffering. Then Inoue says that unless the Father apostatizes, other Christians in the prison, even the ones who had apostatized will be hung upside down from a tree all their blood is drained out of the body. Now, the Father is torn between whether he should apostatize for the sake of others or whether he should let them suffer and hold strong to his faith. Furthermore, he starts wondering why God is silent. This is an excellent book; I simply couldn¿t put it down until the last page. I think it provides an interesting angle on how the Japanese looked at Christianity and the situation of Japan at that time. Furthermore, it¿s a very powerful and moving book for both Christians and non-Christians.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a beautiful novel about faith, relgious or not, spiritual or not, this book is a wonderful work of art. I heard on Charlie Rose that Martin Scorsese would love to direct a film version, he must. this book needs to be told cinematically since it is such a visual story.
JimRGill2012 19 days ago
The plot of “Silence” is fairly simple—two 17th-century Portuguese Jesuits travel to Japan to find their mentor, a Jesuit who is rumored to have apostatized under pressure from Japanese authorities. Along the way, they endure hardships and experience oppression due to their religious faith. Like most works of great literature, however, the novel is about so much more. Sebastian Rodrigues, the main character in “Silence,” is a tragic figure of Shakespearean proportions. As he seeks his former mentor amid the Japanese persecution of Catholics, he ponders the nobility of martyrdom and often compares himself to Christ, even going so far as to cast a Japanese peasant as his personal Judas. His growing obsession with his own virtue and his mounting frustration with God’s silence in the face of human suffering constitute an almost unforgiveable hubris—a flaw for which he is forced to face consequences. Poetic in style, epic in scope, but brief in length (just over 200 pages), Endo’s novel is an utter masterpiece.
Carmel_1956 More than 1 year ago
Very compelling book! A real "page turner"!
Guest More than 1 year ago
New Directions began as a trendy publisher of Beatnik poetry, so it¿s surprising to see the quotes that they have lined up on the back of this book. Which shows that coffee shop yuppies and american state intellectuals can agree on some things. Like when their identity as ¿christian¿ or ¿radical¿ or most especially ¿american¿ feels threatened by writers who refuse to meet their conventional moral expectations. Just what does the windbag at the Spectator mean by ¿us¿? What kind of arrogant british prejudicial assumption is that? Since he carefully lists the genius¿s that bewilder him I am most certainly NOT in any company, which he has taken it upon himself to represent. His ignorance confirms their validity as major artists. With the possible exception of Graham Greene, Endo remains misunderstood within the US/UK block. The only analogue to him I can think of is Nikos Kazanzakis, whose attempt to reconcile ¿opposites¿ (spirit-flesh, god-nature) within his writing shares much with Endo¿s concerns as an artist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very, very, very good. It was emotionally and mentally engaging and I would highly recommend this book to everyone, whether or not they believe in God.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the most profound books I've ever read. Narration transports you to the feel, sights, smells or feudal Japan. But the questions Shisaku Endo raises are the timeless questions of faith, loyalty, and love. What does it really mean to be a christian? What would you do for your faith? Nowadays when WWJD is such a popular theme, Shisaku Endo presents the ultimate test of faith. There is no right or wrong answer - in the end we must each live with our choices and answer to the God we believe in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a nice work of fiction. Some may feel this book should be categorized with Christian Inspiration due to the fact that it is heavily influenced by Christian fables. Japanese historians would find this story flawed and inaccurate with a mostly pessimistic view on Japense culture which is true. However this is a work of fiction and should be viewed as such. The novel's point of view is biased, but then again so are most other books...right?