” Silence ” by Shusuke Endo is a historical fiction story originally published in the 1960’s .
It’s 17th century Japan , Christianity is banned , and any caught worshipping are interrogated and tortured until they publicly renounce their faith . Two Portuguese Jesuit priests are sent to Japan to secretly help preserve the Japanese Christian faith and also to investigate the claim that one of their mentors has apostatized . Eventually both priests are captured and are forced to watch the Japanese torture believers unless they both abandon their faith publicly .
This story is told in the form of letters from one of the Jesuit’s which helps make it feel authentic … also there is the fact that in 17th century Japan Christians really were captured and tortured giving another layer of authenticity here . Intense is the word that comes to mind . The story deals with issues of cultural differences , pride , cowardice , persecution and faith . I should point out that the methods of torture are described in the story so this may prove too intense for some of you . This story was later turned into a movie by Martin Scorsese and it’s a good adaptation . Overall , I would recommend both the book and the movie .
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