This is one of those rare books that really gets under your skin. I first read it several years ago and still, to this day, I find myself being drawn back to that mysterious period in Japanese history, when no Japanese were allowed out the country and no foreigners were allowed in. Christians particularly risked death and Silence tells the story of Father Rodrigues, who has come from Portugal in search of his friend and former mentor, Father Ferreira. This book is perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami. Why not start this year off reading something genuinely different? You may find yourself, like me, thinking about it in years to come and, with the soon-to-be-released movie directed by Martin Scorsese, you really have no excuse not to read this Japanese classic.
Recommended by Tony O’Neill, Dubray Blackrock
With an introduction by Martin Scorsese Beneath the light of the candle I am sitting with my hands on my knees, staring in front of me. And I keep turning over in my mind the thought that I am at the end of the earth, in a place which you do not know and which your whole lives through you will never visit. It is 1640 and Father Sebastian Rodrigues, an idealistic Jesuit priest, sets sale for Japan determined to help the brutally oppressed Christians there. He is also desperate to discover the truth about his former mentor, rumoured to have renounced his faith under torture. Rodrigues cannot believe the stories about a man he so revered, but as his journey takes him deeper into Japan and then into the hands of those who would crush his faith, he finds himself forced to make an impossible choice: whether to abandon his flock or his God. The recipient of the 1966 Tanizaki Prize, Silence is Shusaku Endo's most highly acclaimed work and has been called one of the twentieth century's finest novels. As empathetic as it is powerful, it is an astonishing exploration of faith and suffering. 'One of the finest historical novels written by anyone, anywhere ...flawless' David Mitchell 'A masterpiece.
There can be no higher praise' Daily Telegraph