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Silence    by Shusaku Endo Amazon.com order for
Silence
by Shusaku Endo
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2016 (1966)
Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Silence by Shusaku Endo (and translated by William Johnston) will soon be a motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese. He calls Silence the 'greatest novel and one that has become increasingly precious to me as the years have gone by.'

Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to seventeenth century Japan, to proselytize their religion to the people there. This is not accepted very readily. Travel at that time was very difficult. It must have been heart-wrenching to leave Portugal. And then to watch their converts forced to renounce their new religion most times faced with a horrific death if they refuse.

This beautifully written book depicts the terrible times the two men - and their converts - suffer. Readers share the doubts of one of the pair as he continues with his mission. It is hard to read the priest's monologue as he wanders the country, trying to convert the Japanese from Buddhism to Christianity. He also has a very trying time accepting that those who refuse to renounce Christianity are tortured in the most inhumane way.

Silence is a very thought provoking book, one that might make you think about your dedication to your own faith.

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