Book Blurbs is a series of posts that provide short recommendations of good books in a variety of genres to help get the next great book in your hands.
Endo’s Silence is a phenomenal work of historical fiction. Set in 17th century Japan, Silence tells the story of Sebastian Rodrigues, a Jesuit missionary priest who enters Japan with a fellow priest named Garrpe during the height of Japanese persecution of Christianity. Through both the 1st person letters of Rodrigues and through a 3rd person narrator, the reader is gripped by both the physical and psychological torture that threatened the Christian faith in the country. At the heart of the novel is a question that haunts Rodrigues: why does God remain silent in the face of evil? This is a gripping tale of faith and doubt, martyrdom and apostasy, and the nature of human and divine love. I highly recommend this work to those who love historical fiction and those who like novels that wrestle with tough questions about God.
Note on the edition:
I don’t typically enjoy movie tie-in editions, but I found Martin Scorsese’s foreword enlightening and worth the read. Also, the translator’s (William Johnston) historical introduction to the novel is a must-read, and I highly recommend doing so prior to the novel–though he gives a couple of “spoilers,” albeit small and predictable anyway.