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Silence (1966)

by Shūsaku Endō

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,8261013,284 (4.03)4 / 338
"Shusaku Endo's classic novel of enduring faith in dangerous times "Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama."--The New York Times Book Review 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 Endois 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"--… (more)
  1. 40
    Night by Elie Wiesel (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both books deal with a crisis of faith resulting from God's silence in the face of extreme suffering.
  2. 30
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Anonymous user)
  3. 31
    Shōgun by James Clavell (soylentgreen23)
    soylentgreen23: Although not from the same period exactly, Endo's 'Silence' is another great book about the incursion into Japan of foreign culture, this time in the form of the Christian Church, and what happened in Japan when that religion was suddenly rejected by the ruling class.… (more)
  4. 20
    Black Robe by Brian Moore (doryfish)
  5. 10
    The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (longway)
  6. 10
    The Samurai by Shūsaku Endō (longway)
  7. 00
    L'Extrémité du monde: relation de saint François Xavier sur ses voyages et sur sa vie by René de Ceccatty (Dilara86)
    Dilara86: Déboires de la Compagnie de Jésus au Japon, du point de vue de François Xavier pour l'Extrémité du monde, et du point de vue d'un missionnaire du XVIIe, Sébastien Rodrigues, pour Silence.
  8. 00
    Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (razorsoccam)
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» See also 338 mentions

English (95)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
A well written book that brings in moral questions of faith and whether our pride can interfere with our faith. ( )
  chip1o1 | May 1, 2024 |
Read this in preparation for my trip to Nagasaki during Holy Week and Easter. I tried to read it before around the time the Scorsese movie came out but didn't get beyond the first few pages. This time went through it in a few days, perhaps having since then become a weekly Mass goer again and much more aware of the history of Catholicism in Nagasaki.

Even though I, just like Inoue who was the priest Rodrigues' main tormentor, knew where it would end, the novel wasn't just an interesting philosophical or theological discussion. There is a strong narrative driving the discussion. Rodrigues often discussed how Kichijiro would be a great Christian if times were easy, though by then he is also talking about himself. All the Christians in the book suffer for their faith. Though there is a lot to think about in how torture and violence is used to "persuade" people, we often in our daily lives do things we dislike just to get along, thinking we are helping out ourselves and others in the short or long run. How much are is one willing to sacrifice to stay true to oneself and one's faith while living in a community, especially one which does not share the same values? Even though Endo pushes his characters to their extreme, that was the heart of the book to me.
  xinjeisan | Mar 19, 2024 |
One of the greatest books ever written. A must read. ( )
  Aidan767 | Feb 1, 2024 |
Pretty bleak. Sort of 1984, but set in 17th century Japan, and the main character is a Portuguese priest/missionary. ( )
  aleshh | Jan 12, 2024 |
While being myself a Christian, I am always afraid that books written by Christian authors turn out to be 'preachy' or pretend that if you only believe in God everything will turn out fine. I therefore rather avoid Christian books. This book, however, is something else entirely. It has sharp edges, very disturbing scenes, ask difficult questions and has the courage not to answer them. The characters Endo creates are superb and real. I am very glad the great Martin Scorsece is making a movie about this, so more people can discover this masterpiece. ( )
  Twisk | Oct 2, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shūsaku Endōprimary authorall editionscalculated
Johnston, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, WilliamPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scorsese, MartinForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shimizu, YukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steegers-Groeneveld, C.M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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News reached the Church in Rome.
Quotations
"This country is a swamp. . . . Whenever you plant a sapling in this swamp the roots begin to rot; the leaves grow yellow and wither."

--Cristóvão Ferreira
"They twisted God to their own way of thinking in a way we can never imagine. . . . It is like a butterfly caught in a spider's web. At first it is certainly a butterfly, but the next day only the externals, the wings and the trunk, are those of a butterfly; it has lost its true reality and has become a skeleton. In Japan our God is just like that butterfly caught in the spider's web: only the exterior form of God remains, but it has already become a skeleton."
--Cristóvão Ferreira
It was not against the Lord of Chikugo and the Japanese that he had fought. Gradually he had come to realize that it was against his own faith that he had fought.
How many of our Christians, if only they had been born in another age from this persecution, would never have been confronted with the problem of apostasy or martyrdom but would have lived blessed lives of faith until the very hour of death.
Behind the depressing silence of this sea, the silence of God... the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish God remains with holded arms silent. (p. 61)
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"Shusaku Endo's classic novel of enduring faith in dangerous times "Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama."--The New York Times Book Review 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 Endois 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"--

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