First Sentence: News reached the church in Rome.
This Japanese classic is set in the seventeenth century at a time when Japan is trying to abolish any trace of Christianity. The ‘news’ that reaches Rome is that Father Ferreira has apostatized after being subjected to torture in ‘the pit’, [essentially being hung upside down so as to bleed slowly to death over a pit full of excrement and human remains]. From here on in the novel is primarily concerned with Portuguese Father Rodrigues and his journey to and around Japan searching for his former teacher to see if he actually has committed fumi-e; something he does not really believe to be true. I found this book to be quite fascinating, especially the parts where Father Rodrigues is hiding in small villages trying to evade capture, all the time questioning his own faith. It is this doubt which gives the book its title:
Already twenty years have passed since the persecution broke out; the black soil of Japan has been filled with the lament of so many Christians; the red blood of priests has flowed profusely; the walls of the churches have fallen down; and in the face of this terrible and merciless sacrifice offered up to Him, God has remained silent.
A thought-provoking, entertaining and illuminating read.
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