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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594783169
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 01/10/2017
Series: Picador Classics Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 21,109
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.72(d)

About 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 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 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.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a short novel, only 201 pages, and I read it in just a few hours. The prose is spare, almost minimalist, but that doesn't mean it isn't in the end powerful. The translator in his introduction calls the author Shusaku Endo the "Japanese Graham Greene," and in this work of historical fiction set in the mid-17th century, Endo tackles questions not only about what it means to be Japanese and Christian, but Christian period. Or to believe in any spiritual creed. Questions such as can Christianity take root in foreign soil without changing the faith fundamentally? Is truth universal or does each culture have its own? But most of all it asks, about "the silence of God... the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish God remains with folded arms, silent."At the beginning of the 17th century, there was a thriving Christian community in Japan of as many as 400,000 believers in the nation of 20 million. But then in 1614 the Japanese government issued an "edict of expulsion" of the Christian missionaries and the persecution of Christians began, almost completely eradicating the faith within Japan and driving the remnant underground. The book follows Father Rodrigues, a Portuguese missionary, who comes to Japan a couple of decades after the banning of Christianity and whose faith is challenged when he witnesses the martyrdom of the Japanese Christians, and then is captured and put under pressure to repudiate his faith.Often I hear that we're not supposed to cross cultures in fiction. Over and over again I read people saying it's arrogant for a Westerner to try to write of the East. Yet here Endo, who is Japanese, writes from the point of view of a 17th century Portuguese man and puts the lie to that, and I think shows we only narrow our vision when we refuse to at least try to see a view alien to us. I thought amazing the psychological insight and complexity with which Endo depicted Rodrigues. Over a third of the narrative is presented as his letters, other parts in third person but sticking closely to his point of view. Reading his struggle with forgiving and faith was often a moving experience. If I don't rate this a full five stars, it's only that I felt the ending fell a little flat for me. I think it would have ended more strongly if the "appendix" at the end had been cut, and we had been left with Rodrigues' reflections.
1morechapter on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Based on a true story about the persecution and torture of Japanese Christians and foreign missionaries in 1600s Japan, Silence is a powerful book about faith (and doubt), truth, and the human spirit. What will make one person stay true to his faith, even under unspeakable torture, while another one does not? Why is God silent during suffering? These are the questions the book raises, and some would say it gives no clear answers. It is easy to say from our comfortable Western homes that we would never deny God under duress. But the Bible states that even Peter, a much loved disciple, denied Christ. What does it truly mean to stay faithful to God?Repeating the prayer again and again he tried wildly to distract his attention; but the prayer could not tranquilize his agonized heart. `Lord, why are you silent? Why are you always silent¿?¿This book powerfully affected me, and I¿ve already sought out more books by this Japanese Christian author.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This piece of historical fiction was written n 1967 by Shusaku Endo. It is deceptively simple in terms of the writing. In fact, it raises profound questions of faith, of culture, and of the meaning of silence. A priest from Portugal journeys to Japan in the 1600s during a period of Japanese persecution of Christians, primarily Catholic missionaries. Father Rodrigues hopes to further the spread of his faith and to also determine if his revered teacher has indeed apostatized, renouncing his faith, as has been reported. As I began the book I thought of three meanings of silence: death, perfect peace, and total fear. Let's just say that Father Rodrigues discovered and struggled with the fourth, the silence of God n the face of suffering. I will not reveal his resolution, but it is worth reading to find out. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.
ebnelson on LibraryThing 10 months ago
What does conversion look like? How does God choose to be made manifest in the lives of adherents? What about ¿converted¿ societies? Can there be such a thing as a Christian nation, or will the majority of adherents only have superficial faith? Is superficial faith real faith? Christian Endo faithfully yet critically explores these questions through the eyes of a 17th Century Portuguese missionary to Japan¿a country that had initially adopted Christianity but then brutally persecuted believers. With apostates, torture, doubt, and glorious martyrdom taking center stage, Silence asks tough questions and gives faith-filled yet honest answers that are as relevant to Christians in a softened 21st Century America as it is to Endo¿s Japanese audience. Its ultimate focus on love function as a ringing indictment of religion--even Christian 'religion'--Endo also explores fortitude and justice.How do we love--truly love--when the apparent loving action forces us to brea, good, holy commitments? Fidelity to vows made to God is a great thing--for in our fortitude even through adversity, which would cause others to break their vows, we are usually surprised to find love and joy on the other side. God rewards fidelity towards vows--Is breaking a vow always an act of unfaith, and if so, can and should it be done for the sake of love? This is the knife that is twisted in Silence, whose author suggests that fidelity to our holy vows--and even to God--can become an idol that we should break in fear and trembling for the sake of love of neighbor.
rokinrev More than 1 year ago
“I knew well, of course that the greatest sin against God was despair; but the silence of God was something I could not fathom.” This is not only the story of the Portuguese Catholic mission to Japan in the 1600s. Although it is a fictionalization, it is one of true suffering of the attempts at Christianizing a Bhuddist culture. It is a clash of faith focused on the life of Father Rodriguez and how he suffered for his beliefs. It is not a “pretty” story, as the young Franciscan struggles with what appears to be the “silence” of his God in the face of the cruelty of the Shogun. He continues to question his core beliefs as he outwardly witnesses the torture of those who literally gave up their lives for their beliefs. All throughout the book, we see Rodriguez’ struggle with the outward pain and how simple, and not so simple acts make or break Christians. The book is a hard look at faith within and culture without. It is an angry book, one I have had for decades but actually never read until now, prompted by Martin Scorsese’s film based on it. In the sloughs of despair the spark of hope almost dies. For its terrorizing images, I cannot give this book a 5 star rating. However, I do recommend it if you are up for a challenge. It is a haunting read 4/5
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year 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?