Silence by Shusaku Endo

Silence is a novel set in 17th century Japan.  The feudal system in Japan had welcomed missionaries for a few decades but had turned against the Christians, both foreign and Japanese, at that time.  The narrator is a missionary priest who sneaks into Japan during this time of persecution in search of a former teacher who was rumored to have apostacized.

For a translation, the prose is good.  It wasn’t difficult to read and captured my attention, two problems I’ve encountered with some modern translations.  The writing passes muster, but I wouldn’t read the book for it alone.  It’s worth reading because it deals in such a gripping and insightful way with the questions, “What is apostacy?” and “What does it mean to be a pastor?”  Every Christian ought to read it at some point in their lives.  It does contain accounts of violence, but they are not gratuitous, and it doesn’t dissuade me from recommending it, even for the faint at heart.  (10/10, borrowed from the library.)

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