Foreword by Martin Scorsese, whose new film based on the novel stars Liam Neeson as Father Rodrigues.
Silence is Shusaku Endo’s most highly acclaimed novel. It is the story of an idealistic Portuguese Jesuit priest, Father Sebastian Rodrigues, who in the 1640s sets sail for Japan determined to help the brutally oppressed Japanese Christians and to discover the truth about his former mentor, who is rumoured to have rejected ‘glorious martyrdom’ and apostatised. But once faced with the reality of religious persecution Rodrigues is himself forced to make an impossible choice: whether to abandon his flock or his God.
Shusaku Endo, born in Tokyo in 1923, was raised by his mother and an aunt in Kobe where he converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of eleven. At Tokyo's Keio University he majored in French literature, graduating BA in 1949, before furthering his studies in French Catholic literature at the University of Lyon in France between 1950 and 1953. Before his death in 1996, Endo was the recipient of a number of outstanding Japanese literary awards: the Akutagawa Prize, Mainichi Cultural Prize, Shincho Prize, and the Tanizaki Prize, and was widely considered the greatest Japanese novelist of his time.
'One of the finest historical novels written by anyone, anywhere . . . flawless'.
- David Mitchell
'A masterpiece. There can be no higher praise'.
- Daily Telegraph
'The precision of its writing, the force of its plot, the sympathy of its characterization, all move towards making Silence a profound imaginative experience.'
'A remarkable work...sombre, delicate and startingly empathetic.'
- New Yorker