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Publisher's Summary

Recipient of the 1966 Tanizaki Prize, it has been called Endo's supreme achievement" and "one of the twentieth century's finest novels".
Considered controversial ever since its first publication, it tackles the thorniest religious issues of belief and faith head on.
A novel of historical fiction, it is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to seventeenth century Japan, who endured persecution that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion.
©1966 Shusaku Endo; (P)2009 Audible Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By Helgi Sigurbjörnsson on 10-12-17


Well worth listening to and then some. But there is one thing you NEED to know before you listen. Martin Scorcese has added foreword to the book that require a spoiler alert. In his admiration for Shusaku Endo's work he gives away important information that will affect how you interpret the story. Suffice to say that it is better to hear his interpretation of the book after but not before you listen. The actual story starts at 5:40 min and is not marked in any way on the audio file.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

By Diane on 04-25-12


This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, bar none. With a forward by Martin Scorsese, who writes that he has found this book "increasingly precious" to him over the years and who is adapting the story for film, Endo's masterpiece asks the most profound questions which confront us about the meaning of our existence and of faith, especially the Christian faith. What is the true meaning of agape love? What is the meaning of human suffering and why does God seem to be silent in the face of it? What is the role of Judas in the Christian story and how do we share in his human weakness? Is there any such thing as "universal truth?"

The novel, inspired by actual events, revolves around a Jesuit missionary in 17th century Japan during a period when the Japanese rulers sought to purge their land of Christian influence. Devout Jesuit missionaries who went to Japan knowing of the Japanese crack-down did so fully cognizant, and even welcoming the prospect, of their potential martyrdom. What they did not expect were the much more difficult challenges to their faith presented to them by the Japanese rulers--challenges which ultimately caused some of them to renounce their faith.

Although the issues are most directly presented in terms of the Christian faith, this classic will be meaningful to anyone who puzzled over the deepest questions of our existence.

Highly recommended.

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41 of 45 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Sandy on 09-18-10

How a man comes face to face with God

This novel follows the journey, literal and metaphysical, of one man, a missionary in 17th century Japan. He realises how human he is, and how inhumane his fellow humans can be. In the end he comes face to face with his own humanity, and in doing so comes face to face with God. Endo reaches the heart of the link between faith and the church. At times I found this novel sad, sickening, disheartening, yet as it progressed it became illuminating, challenging and ultimately life-affirming. A truly remarkable novel, one of the best books I have ever come across.

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23 of 26 people found this review helpful

By Stephen on 12-13-10

Endo's masterpiece

I highly recommend this audio book; for me, a somewhat complex Catholic, 'Silence' lived up to its reputation as one of the greatest novels of the 20th-century. It is similar in theme to Graham Greene's 'Power and the Glory' but far better. The narrator was excellent, he did countless voices and I felt like I was listening to a radio play. I look forward to Scorsese's coming film adaption.

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18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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