Revenge 2

To celebrate the paperback release of Yoko Ogawa’s beautiful and edgy collection of intertwined stories, Revenge, Vintage Books has kindly offered four of Ogawa’s books to one lucky reader of chasing bawa.


I loved both The Housekeeper and the Professor and Revenge which were so different from each other and yet left an indelible impression and have my mitts on The Diving Pool and Hotel Iris which I’ve heard are a little darker and subversive. Perfect reading for summer and #ReadWomen2014, no?

So if you have yet to try Ogawa’s work, make sure you leave a comment and I will pick a winner on July 3rd. The giveaway is open to UK readers only. Good luck! If you can also let me know your favourite Japanese book, film, manga or J-drama, that would make me a happy bunny too.

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa is published in paperback on 3 July (Vintage, £7.99). To coincide with the paperback release of Revenge, Vintage will be reissuing The Diving Pool, The Housekeeper and the Professor and Hotel Iris in paperback.


Soon her mouth began to open wider, and from it emerged, one after another, a small troupe of Little People. Each one carefully scanned the room before emerging.


There is something about Haruki Murakami’s work that keeps drawing people back. I’m not exactly sure what it is. For me, it’s a warm cocoon, comfort, familiarity even though the themes addressed in his novels are often disturbing, ugly, stark. Even the otherness in his stories becomes a part of normality. And 1Q84 is no different. Yes, there are themes that are off-putting. One of my Japanese friends hesitated over giving a copy to her father to read.

From the title, I was expecting a riff on George Orwell’s 1984. But it’s actually much closer to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. And there are abundant references to both in Murakami’s novel.

In 1Q84, Aomame and Tengo are our two protagonists, separated by 20 years since their last encounter, an innocent holding of hands which transformed both of their lives. Living separate lives, nevertheless, they retain strong feelings for each other. Aomame is a fitness trainer by profession who lets off steam once a month by having one night stands with balding middle-aged men. She also works for the mysterious Dowager and her gay bodyguard Tamaru as an occasional assassin of men prone to domestic violence. Tengo is a cram school teacher in mathematics who writes fiction in his spare time and has sex with his married girlfriend once a week. Both are solitary but content with their lives. Until Tengo is given the task of ghostwriting Air Chrysalis, a debut novel by a 17 year old high school girl named Fuka-Eri, which wins a prestigious award and sells millions.

There is something a little strange about Fuka-Eri whose father was once the leader of a socialist, revolutionary and later religious cult/commune named Sakigake. Her tale is at once strange and magical. And when Aomame starts to notice uncanny changes in her timeline, she increasingly begins to suspect that she has somehow slid into another timeline, one she calls 1Q84 instead of 1984. And it is then that she notices there are two moons hanging in the night sky. When Aomame is given the task of eliminating the leader of a cult who is rumoured to have a history of assaulting pre-pubescent girls, her destiny begins to veer towards that of Tengo and Fuka-Eri. Will Aomame and Tengo meet? And will they be able to evade the darkness that will inevitably hound them?

Like his other fantastical fiction, it is hard to summarise Murakami’s novel without giving too much away. Suffice it to say that Murakami is adept at entwining the fantastical into the daily lives of his protagonists without too much fuss. It’s easy, gives you a little start at first, but their acceptance facilitates your acceptance. His clever manipulation of the different literary strands in his story is masterful. You know they will collide at some point, but Murakami does it subtly, inserting a name here, an incident there. Its inevitability is almost a recognition.

‘According to Checkhov,’ Tamaru said, rising from his chair, ‘once a gun appears in a story, it has to be fired.’

One of the things I like about Murakami’s style is his light touch. And yet the themes he addresses are often dark, sad and traumatic. He highlights the reality that most people go about their daily business often carrying unresolved emotional burdens. There is no one who is clean. That is reality. And yet, they go on with their lives and fantastical things happen.

Having seen widely differing reactions to 1Q84 which were negative for the most part, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. I took a luxurious stroll through Murakami’s world and didn’t even notice the change in translators from Books 2 to 3. Both Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel did a superb job and there wasn’t even a slight whisper of discord. What was harsh and shocking in the first half of the novel slowly mellows into something warm and precious as you grow to know Aomame and Tengo.

1Q84 has fast become one of my favourite novels by Murakami making me want to re-read Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle just so I can remember just why I fell in love with his writing.

Evil and the Mask

I created you to be a cancer on the world.

Fumihiro Kuki is the youngest son of the powerful Kuki family whose business sprawls and controls most of Japan. His father has revived the eccentric family tradition of breeding a son in old age to become a cancer, one with which to destroy everything that people hold dear. As part of his training, he has planned Fumihiro’s life in such a way that when he turns 14, he will experience hell. And this will be the catalyst which will turn Fumihiro into a harbinger of doom. But Fumihiro is smart and aware and tries to stay one step ahead of his hateful father. And there is Kaori, a young girl who is adopted from an orphanage to keep Fumihiro company. Both starved of love, they only have each other. And so begins Evil and the Mask, a dark, twisted tale by Fuminori Nakamura.

It’s one of those novel where the less you know, the more you will be surprised. Like Nakamura’s previous novel, The Thief, the translation is spot on and smooth, and you can’t help but fall into the story. I was expecting something a little more doomsday-ish like in the Japanese ultra-violent films so popular in the West. But Evil and the Mask is subtler, deeper and is more about the potential effect of evil on the human psyche. The fact that Fumihiro tries to fight against his destiny even going so far as to have plastic surgery, that he sacrifices his own happiness for another’s, that he has found some sort of purpose to his life because of the realisation that it isn’t about himself anymore is something to ponder upon. Like The Thief, Nakamura digs deep into our fears and makes us confront what it means to be human and what it takes to resist evil when it won’t let you go.

Although I’m a huge fan of Nakamura’s style and enjoyed reading Evil and the Mask, my only sticking point is that the novel feels slightly passive when you compare it to The Thief. There is a lot of reflection but not much action – it’s as though Fumihiro is the perpetual outsider, looking into what his life should have been like. It’s a wonderful novel on regret and what-ifs but it may fall a little short if you are looking for something more exciting.

I would like to thank Soho Press for kindly sending me a copy to review.

I read this as part of Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge 7 and Carl’s R.I.P. VIII. Do go and see what others have been reading.

Strange Weather in Tokyo

I’m torn in my feelings for Hiromi Kawakami’s Strange Weather in Tokyo. Originally titled Sensei no Kaban which translates to My Teacher’s Bag/Briefcase (The Briefcase in the US), Kawakami’s tale is of 38 year old Tsukiko who leads a rather solitary life in Tokyo, living alone, working in a nameless, nondescript job, whose one pleasure is to unwind after another day at work with a cup of sake and something seasonal to eat at a local izakaya. It’s probably an existence that is familiar to a large portion of the single working population in Japan and elsewhere. It’s boring and familiar and comforting but you feel your life slowly ebbing away, lost forever. It is at one of these drinking joints that she meets one of her high school teachers whose name she can never remember. And so begins an unlikely friendship with Sensei (Teacher), meeting once in a while to have a drink and a bite to eat. It’s never planned and they pay separately. But slowly, a chance meeting with an old schoolmate at the annual teachers’ ohanami (cherry blossom viewing picnic) forces Tsukiko to confront her feelings and she begins to realise the growing importance of Sensei in her life.

I loved the slow and leisurely way in which Kawakami peels back the evolving friendship between Tsukiko and Sensei. Their formal manner towards each other even though they often get very drunk together. The slow revelation of each other’s histories. The still moment when you just want to sit next to someone. And yet, there is always this nagging sensation of discomfort that wouldn’t vanish. Although I understood and sympathised with their friendship, I found it difficult to accept anything more. Is it their 30 year age gap? Did I put myself in Tsukiko’s shoes and wonder whether I could fall for a man so much older than myself? I don’t know. Although a common theme in Japanese literature and popular culture during the mid-Showa era, I couldn’t love this book completely because of this central issue which is so relevant to the book and which, I think, mirrored Tsukiko’s misgivings at the beginning. But the two seem so in tune with one another, as though there isn’t another person in the world who gets them, who understands their silences, their reticence, their solitude, that in some ways it seems inevitable.

It’s a deceptively quiet book with some wild emotions churning just below the surface. I was taken with Kawakami’s description of the nondescript existence of so many single people in Tokyo. It resonates, on the one hand, with the yearning for a simple life but also for something more to fill the gap. Although I found it troubling, there is something about Strange Weather in Tokyo that stubbornly remains in my thoughts long after I finished the last page.

I would like to thank Portobello Books for kindly sending me a copy to review.

I read this as part of Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge 7. Do go and see what others have been reading.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Haruki Murakami fans all over the world are waiting with bated breath for the translation of his new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage which should hopefully be published sometime next year. I still have 1Q84 to get through so I’m happy to wait although I was tempted to try and read it in Japanese. But many of my Japanese friends have and so I present to you my lovely friend and fellow reader Eriko who will give you a glimpse of what Murakami has in store for us.

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Since the new book by Haruki Murakami came out, I’ve been on trains and passed by bookstores bursting with ads for this book. This has made me feel a bit uneasy, as reading a book, especially Murakami’s, is a very personal experience for me and often I forget that it is written by a famous author and not just for me.

36 year old Tsukuru Tazaki works as a railway station planner in Shinjuku,Tokyo. He has always felt that there might be something abnormal about himself hidden beneath his very ordinary, dull persona – a feeling that he is different from others.

His new girlfriend, Sara, is a few years older than him and a smart professional working for a travel agency. They have just started seeing each other and Tsukuru is obviously very attracted to her although things are still quite polite between them – his attraction is still on a level of dreamy yearning from a slight distance, being unsure whether she will really become his.

One night, Tsukuru ends up talking about an incident that occurred 16 years ago which changed his life. While at university in Tokyo, he was suddenly expelled from his group of high school friends back in his hometown of Nagoya for no obvious reason. Until that point, their group of two girls and three guys including Tsukuru had maintained a spotless harmony and exclusive closeness which Sara now sees as unnatural and constructed. Because he was tormented, Tsukuru never tried to find out why this happened and just let it sink.

Sara gently suggests that Tsukuru should face his past split with his high school friends and find out the reason behind it. She says that there is a certain aloofness about him that prevents her from developing a serious relationship with him. Thinking upon it, Tusukuru begins to understand that he may have commitment issues stemming from his past.

With Sara’s help, Tsukuru reconnects one by one with his old friends, Mr. Blue, Mr. Red, Ms. White and Ms. Black, to find out the truth and finally finds redemption by sharing their emotional wounds from their past.

In this novel, you find lots of real people with ordinary jobs and lives in which things are seemingly pretty sane. They all seem to be out in the world and properly connected with society, compared to say the protagonist in The Wind-up Bird Chronicle who has just quit his job at a law firm and stays at home alone when he starts to receive weird phone calls from a strange woman, or the 15-year-old runaway boy in Kafka on the Shore who travels to Shikoku and settles in a local library as a total stranger. Yet with Tsukuru, we are led through metaphysical and symbolic dreams or perhaps dream-like reality, catching glimpses of people’s inner longings and agony urged by very strong sensations of both life and death.

This time, it is Liszt’s melody Le Mal du Pays that is played and mentioned repeatedly in the story and outlines the vague melancholy Tsukuru carries within himself.

Like the other novels by Murakami, I find it difficult to summarize what went through me while reading this story as every line contains details that grasp your imagination or trigger an inner dialogue between you and the narrative.

Overall, it was an easy read, concentrating on human emotions such as friendship and love, with a twist of mystery. The story left me with a rather warm feeling as well as hope, not yet promised, for a happier future for Tsukuru as he seems to find himself a renewed person after the pilgrimage.

In a closed memorial lecture and interview for late psychologist, Hayao Kawai, held at Kyoto University in May, Murakami reportedly referred to his work as follows:

Stories lie at the very bottom of human souls. Because they are at the deepest spot of people’s heart, they can connect people at their roots. The role of a novelist is to provide a model for the stories people have. If the readers sympathize with the novel and react to it, something like a network of souls will be constructed. This is what I feel like doing – constructing a network of souls via my novels.

I am certain that Murakami was successful in touching my mind and heart at a deep level with his new novel again this time and made me react to it in many parts. Probably even more so because it had to do more purely with human relationships as well as life and death. Particles of Tsukuru’s story still remain quietly resonant within me.

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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Murakami’s new novel, Eriko.

Eriko is of mixed Japanese and German origin and lives in Tokyo.

Intrigued by the thought-provoking title of Murakami’s new work, she got a copy as soon as it was published. She also reread her favorite dialogue between Murakami and the late Jungian psychologist, Hayao Kawai, Haruki Murakami goes and meets Hayao Kawai, which helps her gain new perspectives in experiencing Murakami’s work. Murakami says that Kawai was the only person who truly understood what he was trying to do in his work.

Murakami Kawai

Jap Lit 7

has started already. Go and check out Bellezza‘s wonderful review site with lots of reading suggestions.

This year I’m going to keep it simple. I’m aiming to finish Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 which I rushed out to buy when it first came out in hardback way back in 2010 and from which I quickly got distracted when carrying the behemoth tome around on my commute got painful. Should have really waited until the paperbacks were out but hey, you know me, no self control when it comes to new books.

I also purchased a copy of Jacob Ritari’s Taroko Gorge when I visited New York’s Strand Bookstore in spring and although Ritari is American, it’s all about Japanese high school kids on a school trip to Taiwan. Bellezza’s reading it too so I’m going to jump on the wagon.

I’m also tempted to try Ryu Murakami’s From the Fatherland, With Love about Japan in a dystopian present under attack from North Korea. Sounds fascinating, no?

And I might throw in another Shusaku Endo, possibly Scandal, a Yasunari Kawabata and a Yukio Mishima if I can stay focused. Fingers crossed, eh?

What about you? Will you be joining us during the next 6 months in reading some Japanese literature books?


Revenge by Yoko Ogawa is a collection of interconnected short stories that are about modern Japan but heavily dosed with the twisted and macabre. I have only read one of her previous books, the wonderful The Housekeeper and the Professor which was a rather lovely and warm depiction of family in a slowly fracturing world, but I was aware that her other books were of a much darker and disturbing quality and was reluctant to read them. But I was drawn by the wonderful reception of her new book and the beautiful cover.

Subtitled Eleven Dark Tales, the collection starts with a grieving mother who waits at a bakery to buy a strawberry short cake for her son’s birthday every year even though she lost him six years ago. As she waits for the shop assistant, she is drawn to what looks like the distraught pâtisserie chef speaking on the phone in the kitchen beyond. Not much happens but Ogawa sets the tone of her collection, one that combines an unsettling chill together with a sense of incompleteness. You wonder where she is taking you.

Although not as disturbing as I expected, I did find a number of stories got under my skin and left me feeling uneasy, especially Old Mrs. J (strange), Sewing for the Heart (grotesque) and Tomatoes and the Full Moon (spooky). My favourites were Welcome to the Museum of Torture and the two stories that followed closely which were more poignant and with a hint of fairytale and involves a Museum of Torture, a Bengal Tiger and a man with an interesting past which includes a dose of hoarding (the modern scourge). An intriguing combination.

Initially, I was a little disappointed at the brevity of the stories: the characterisation seemed brash and stifled, the emotions were dealt with in an offhand way. I was unsure about this collection and how it was going to proceed. But slowly, Ogawa begins to tie little sections together, mentioning a character here or an event from a previous story there until it comes full circle. She does this so seamlessly that it takes you a while to realise where you had encountered this snippet of information without taking you away from the story you are currently reading. And when the connections start making sense, you find yourself immersing into this dark, macabre ordinariness in which she so excels. Pretty impressive stuff.

I do recommend that you follow the order of the stories set in the contents as they follow a very loose but definite order and will ultimately make more sense towards the end. You’ll finish with a sense of wonder and a need to re-read the collection.

I would like to thank Harvill Secker for kindly sending me a copy of Revenge to review.

Salvation of a Saint

Many of you know how much I enjoyed and admired Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X which I read last year. In the interim, a drama series based on his short stories, Higashino Keigo Mysteries, aired in Japan and I watched with glee as he deconstructed the various mystery tropes that make up the successful crime writer’s arsenal.

And so I couldn’t wait to read Salvation of a Saint which once again featured the maverick and eccentric Detective Galileo aka phyics Professor Manabu Yukawa of the fictional Teito University in Tokyo who is invaluable in assisting the police investigations of his college friend, Detective Kusanagi. I was also delighted to see the appearance of Kusanagi’s deputy, Detective Kaoru Utsumi, who is one of the main characters in the tv series Galileo which aired in Japan in 2007 and which was my first introduction to Higashino’s mysteries.

Unlike in The Devotion of Suspect X, Professor Yukawa only makes an appearance from Chapter 9. The action is focused more on the police investigation into the murder of Yoshitaka Mashiba, a wealthy businessman with a beautiful wife, Ayane, who is a successful patchwork artist and teacher and a much younger lover, Hiromi Wakayama, who also happens to be his wife’s apprentice. But on that fateful weekend, Ayane was in Sapporo visiting her aging parents and Mashiba was supposedly alone. Told in flashbacks, the back story of the characters are slowly revealed in tandem with the progression of the investigation. When Utsumi suspects that her superior, Kusanagi, is being emotionally swayed by the captivatingly tragic Ayane, she calls upon Yukawa for his assistance. For the detectives are baffled at the inexplicable manner of Mashiba’s death and are unable to find any clues.

Unlike a conventional crime thriller, we are given a small number of suspects right from the beginning who are then slowly narrowed down as the police uncover clues. Higashino seems more interested in fleshing out the motives of each character through their interaction with the victim and unraveling the final trick with which the murder, if it can be proved, was carried out. Like with The Devotion of Suspect X, the mechanism of this trick is deceptively clever, if not slightly simpler as is the story itself which is a straightforward crime passionel.

This is a quiet book where the violence has already happened and the characters are dealing with the aftermath, all the while fending off prying questions by the police. There are no conflicts that are about to erupt. Everything is kept in check by the suspects. But this, contrarily ratchets up the tension because you aren’t exactly sure how the characters are going respond. Will they continue to put up a brave face or will they crack?

The mystery and the characters were satisfying but I am still unsure about the narrative structure and whether the flashbacks provided a cohesive plot. In some ways, I would have preferred if Higashino had embedded the characters’ pasts into the general narrative instead of giving us chunks in between which would have provided a more seamless reading experience.

The other thing of which I would have liked a little more explanation was the rift in Yukawa and Kusanagi’s relationship which I am suspecting happened in the previous book but which I seem to have forgotten.

Although I preferred The Devotion of Suspect X because of its sheer, shocking ingenuity, Salvation of a Saint is a solid crime novel providing you with a glimpse of affluent Tokyo and flawless houses that hide seething emotions just below the surface. Keigo Higashino’s work is hugely popular in Japan with a second series of Galileo and a film set to be released this year so I’m excited to see his novels featuring Prof. Yukawa appearing in English. I can’t wait to read more!

I would like to thank the lovely people at Little Brown who kindly sent me copy of Salvation of a Saint to review.

Slightly Peckish Tuesday

29 January, 2013

Swedish Folk Tales

Ooh, two posts in a day. Aren’t you the lucky ones?

Check out what I’ve been slurping for my complexion in Umami Mart: Slightly Peckish and don’t judge me.

In bookish news, I’m currently ensconced in Eowyn Ivey’s beautiful The Snow Child for my book group. I’m normally put off by a lot of hype but since reading Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, I feel chastised and am prepared to believe.

And I’ll leave you with some interesting links from Twitter:

Kay Nielsen’s Stunning 1914 Scandinavian Fairy Tale Illustrations from Brain Pickings. We used to own a book of Swedish Folk Tales illustrated by John Bauer. So beautiful and enchanting.

Best Fictional Libraries in Pop Culture from Flavorwire

And have you seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? Thank you Simon T, Ana and Iris! It’s Pride and Prejudice‘s 200th birthday this week. My favourite adaptations are still the black and white film starring Lawrence Olivier and Greer Garson which I first saw when I was 14 and, of course, Colin Firth’s Darcy. Still swooning.

Silence by Shusaku Endo

23 January, 2013


Lord, why are you silent?
Why are you always silent…..?

Shusaku Endo’s Silence is probably his most famous novel. Like The Samurai and The Volcano, it is a study of Christianity in early modern Japan and the terrible path it carved through the lives of its believers and those who tried to stamp it out.

It is almost 60 years after Francis Xavier’s successful mission to Southern Japan. But the Tokugawa Shogunate, fearing the growing popularity of Christianity amongst the country’s poor and the possible fomentation of anti-government sentiment, has closed Japan’s doors against outsiders, leading the country into self-imposed isolation and declaring a ban on Christianity. It is in this harsh period of forced apostasy and danger that the Jesuit priest Sebastian Rodrigues and his companions set out from Portugal to discover the fate of their teacher, Christovão Ferreira, who has disappeared in Japan after rumours of his apostasy sent shock waves across the Christian world. Via Macao, they board a ship to a village near Nagasaki and there, their ideas and views on their vocation and the land they had dreamt of comes under increasing attack as they realise that the path they have chosen is harsher than anything they ever expected.

My reading of Silence as a non-Christian will probably differ from those who do believe, and yet, I feel that Endo successfully manages to get to the root of what he is trying to portray and shows the reader the real, honest and true anguish of someone who is trying to understand what it means to have faith and to live their life in a true and meaningful way.

I don’t think I have ever come across another novelist who has managed to do this in such a searing portrayal of a man struggling against fear and doubt and still trying to do justice to his vocation. Rodrigues is constantly treading water, at the edge of desperation, as he sees his flock captured, forced to step on fumie and apostatise, tortured and killed. He is perpetually caught between wanting to end the suffering of the Japanese Christians and staying true to his vocation, that he must continue his mission to spread and uphold his faith in Japan. It is a struggle from the beginning as most Christian converts are from the lower orders of the social hierarchy; many are peasants who are struggling with poverty and whose lives are hellish.

for a long, long time these farmers have worked like horses and cattle; and like horses and cattle they have died. The reason our religion has penetrated this territory like water flowing into dry earth is that it has given to this group of people a human warmth they never previously knew. For the first time they have met men who treated them like human beings.

You are there with Rodrigues as he jumps from one painful situation to the next, always shadowed by his Judas, the wretched, weak apostate Kichijiro, until he is finally captured himself. And there he comes face to face with the man he has come to Japan to find, his teacher Ferreira. And this is where his real struggle begins.

SPOILER ALERT (click and highlight to see text)

I was expecting Rodrigues to die at the end of the novel. But what Endo has done is something I hadn’t expected. Something much worse. And also something which really drives home and makes you think about what it must mean to have true faith. Does the fact that you have stepped on a fumie mean that you are an unbeliever? Can you really choose between stopping someone’s torture and keeping your own hands clean? And most importantly, Rodrigues finally believes that God had spoken to him and shown him the way, that by apostatising, he has become a true Christian and is saving his brethren from death. I may have gotten this all wrong but I found the ending to be truly painful but the fact that Rodrigues did not take his own life must mean that although he has no choice but to comply with his captors, he has found some kind of peace within himself and found meaning in his Christianity. But I’m not really sure.


Endo’s portrayal of Rodrigues is that of a real blood, sweat and tears man. A man who is struggling with what he believes and what he thinks is the right thing to do. It’s a vital, anguished portrayal but one which really touched me. There are hardly any clean, beautiful characters in this novel. It’s raw and gritty and wretched. And yet it stays with you. The Samurai showed how Christianity lifted some of the burden from the lives of the poor peasants in feudal Japan but Silence shows how much the Japanese and their Portuguese priests had to give up in order to protect their faith.

There is a word in Japanese, shugyo (修行), which loosely translates as an apprenticeship or training with roots in Buddhism. It’s often used to denote a period of training that one must undergo in order to become stronger, to achieve success or some sort of enlightenment. Rodrigues’ ordeal is akin to this. He doesn’t shy away from it, knowing that he must get through it in order for there to be some meaning in his life, for there to be a link with his faith.

I finished reading Silence almost two weeks ago but Rodrigues’ struggle  still lingers in my mind as I try to understand whether he managed to come to terms with his choices. I am in awe of what Endo has accomplished here (together with William Johnston’s superb translation) and will definitely be seeking more of his novels to read as I hope some of you will too.

Do check out Bellezza and Tony‘s posts and Tanabata‘s discussion of Silence and Teresa has posted on a new translation of Kiku’s Prayer.

*Do also check out Teresa’s post on re-reading Silence.

I read this as part of Bellezza‘s Japanese Literature Challenge 6, Tony‘s January in Japan and Ana and IrisLong Awaited Reads Month.

JLC6 #1 January in Japan LAR Button Final