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Endo’s Christian Novel, “Silence” – A Book Review

c. 1632

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The Japanese writer Shusaku Endo’s interest in the silence of God led him to provide his 1969 novel on the subject with the mere title, Silence.

The time is the 1600s.  Two Catholic priests from Portugal sail to Japan to spiritually aid the Christians there and to find out why a fellow priest called Father Ferreira apparently apostatized.  The shocking torture of Christians both Japanese and European has routinely occurred in Japan (at the hands of Japanese authorities) any time a believer has refused to trample on the engraved image of Jesus called the fumie.  The novel’s hero, Father Rodrigues, is a godly man, but he is bothered by God’s silence in the face of the suffering he beholds–and he perforce confronts the possibility of becoming a “fallen priest” in such a treacherous land.

Is there a form of Christian “fallenness” that is justified, at least when faith remains in the heart?

Clumsy prose prevails in Silence (“Banging his head against the wall he kept murmuring monotonously:  “It cannot be so . . .”), but the novel is sobering.  I must ask, however:  Are persecuted born-again Catholic priests really concerned about the silence–or “silence”– of God?  Perhaps it depends on the nature of the persecution.  Much of the novel’s meaning, in any case, is rather questionable.  It is not as fine an accomplishment as the novels of Mauriac and Bernanos, who, like the late Endo, were devout Catholics.  But it is assuredly religious and hardly uninteresting.   


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  1. Clark Minn

    I think this is a good novel…I like reading books and I want to have a copy of this…

  2. melody

    I’m interested on reading this book.. I want to buy this book.. Where could I find one?

    • dean

      It looks like you can order it through Barnes & Noble can probably order it for you, too.

  3. It looks like you can order it through Barnes & Noble can probably order it for you, too.

  4. Cher Shives

    I love reading novels and I think I have to add this to my collection…

  5. Robin

    I love Christian Novel and I think I will also love this one…I am into books and I also have a lot of them in the house…Thanks for sharing the post you have here for us…

  6. A very interesting book to read.. I would like to have one.. Thank you for sharing this to us!

  7. Rowena

    I will be saving this book for my summer reading by the pool. I can picture it now

  8. Noraiza Braun

    Very interesting. I love to read books like these, especially biblical based books . I would like to get a copy.

  9. Victoria Taylor

    I have seen this in This is very interesting! Will order this right away.. Thanks for posting this to us!

  10. Fara

    Very interesting novel.Absolutely ,It’s a must have books.Thank you for giving this out.

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