Reviewing Shusaku Endo’s Historical Novels ‘Silence’ and ‘The Samurai’
This sound so good! I love historical novels but have never read one about this era.
You are in for a real treat with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I once read to a group of women in a local retirement facility and chose that novel as a personal favorite. You wouldn't believe how much these 80+ year old women, all from Montana loved this book. I'm looking forward to the two Japanese Christian books having just finished re-reading In The House of Brede. Thanks for being there, Joel!!!
Happy to read this review after more than a decade since reading these myself. I know Silence is considered his masterpiece, but The Samurai has stuck with me much more. For someone raised in Christianity, it for the first time helped me to see and understand "the foolishness of the cross."
After reading Silence, I read Makoto Fujimura's terrific commentary on it: Silence and Beauty. Highly recommended! In 2016 I spent a lovely two hours in a Princeton cafe talking to Mako about his book and related subjects.
I plan to read Samurai. I came across an article on Samurai in Mexico a few years ago and the idea has always fascinated me. I can see a very cool Western being made from that notion. Both of these books sound intriguing.
Hello Joel. I am introduced to so many good books through your reviews. I may not get to all of them (so many books, so little time!), but, at least, I am more knowledgeable about the many wonderful authors and cultures out there, and will be more familiar when my and those books' paths cross again.
I very much appreciate the cultural diversity of your chosen books, and their and well-written reviews. Thank you. Mmerikani
Thank you so much for reviewing these books. I read 'Silence' (no italics are possible here yet) a couple of years ago. (My copy was from Picador Classics, with a large red sun on the cover above Mt. Fuji.)
At the time, as well, during an MFA program, my research went into Dejima - the island to which foreigners were mostly confined for over 200 years outside of Nagasaki - as well as the Portuguese and the Dutch in Japan during this period. Here, in Leiden (the Netherlands), there is a botanical garden and a museum filled with plants and artefacts from a somewhat later period. The first known Japanese elm outside of Japan is here, as are many other 'firsts' from this period before the country opened its doors (or rather, had them forced open by the US).
Charles C. Mann's '1493' does go into the Japanese and many other nations which went into the great mix which was Mexico during colonial times. Will have to get to 'The Samurai' at some point.
The books you are selecting are of such quality, including 'Their Eyes Were Watching God,' which we also read for an African American literature course during the writing degree.
I did wonder, at points, whether the author's search may have been thwarted, or delayed, by holding to organized religion . . . humanity, and its promise, may in great part lie outside of these formal categories.
The small notes of value, where they appear, add to the discussion.
This is a great initiative.