Book Discussion (Silence)

As a big fan of Japanese culture, I found myself having read no books by Japanese Authors. Fortunately, while in Powell’s Books in Portland, there was a table dedicated to Japanese literature. While I was browsing, Shūsaku Endō’s Silence caught my eye. To be fair, it was the foreword by Martin Scorsese that captivated me, but nonetheless I bought the book. When I started it, I was initially turned off- it’s main theme was Christianity. But after finishing it, I concluded that it was a great novel and really changed my perspective on God.

Personally, I’m not a religious man. However, I’m still very open minded and find Christianity to have good lessons and a fascinating story. Still, I didn’t like the idea about reading about priests. But while reading the introduction, a quote by Endō changed my mind. He said something along the lines of “this book is literature, not theology.” And when I finished it, I found it true. It’s a really detailed and insightful story, and I even thought the christian lessons and conflicts are moving.

Endō’s ability to tell this historical drama is truly page turning. The insight he provides based on personal experience translates to a powerful story that is full of emotion. His sombre tone combines with his emotion to create a very dark but inspiring story. In this, I really learned more about faith in God and life in general. One of the struggles I find in being a religious man is having this resolute faith while God is usually silent. The way Endō communicates this in his novel is very relatable to more than just Christians, but to all people who feel the odds are against them. The main lesson that this novel is to remain true to yourself, realize you can’t control everything, and move on from mistakes. Too often in this world we are against odds of authority that limit who we want to become. We shouldn’t bend to it, but also realize there will be a limiting factor in life. However, by finding faith in certain and things and most importantly faith in others, we can overcome anything.

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