Silence is set during the early years of Christianity in Japan and the story revolves around Father Sebastian Rodrigues who sets off with two other fellow priests after hearing news that his mentor Father Ferreira apostatized. No one knew for sure whether Father Ferreira is still alive and no one can confirm if the news/rumors about him renouncing his faith were true. Rodrigues embarks on a journey that may cost him his life. Sounds like an adventure given that as a gist of the story, right? However, it takes a different scenario focusing on Rodrigues’ faith, feelings and conscience.
The story started too slow for my taste, to be honest, I wouldn’t have continued reading if I had another book with me at the time. It’s a novel about faith and one’s personal view of God and leans heavily on Catholic theology specially for the first part of the book.
The main issue is, as the title suggests, silence. We see very terrible things happening around us and if you believe there’s a God, at some point, it makes you ask why doesn’t He intervene, why doesn’t He do something, why does He allow evil things to happen? Does God see us in our breaking points? God himself said, “pray and I will hear you and that I will love you and comfort you.” But then, silence is all there is. The first words in Silence were the first words I’ve read from Shusaku Endo, I have never read anything by him before. But it kinda felt a bit odd though to find out that he is a Catholic, thus, he ought to understand the nature of their faith. I mean, it would make faith meaningless if God is a vocal God. Isn’t that what’s powerful about faith? That it exists without a conclusive proof of God’s existence?
Anyway, God was silent to the end of the book. Rodrigues has to choose between renouncing his faith and save the Christians from being tortured or refuse to apostatize and see more Christians die from torture. I have mixed feelings about the ending maybe because I was expecting the story to end in martyrdom which is actually one of the main issues raised in the book about Christian missions and yet, Father Rodrigues apostatized. Be that as it may, Shusaku Endo was somehow able to reflect man’s thoughts in the face of adversity.
A character who matters a great deal though is Kichijiro who represents Christianity’s greatest villain, Judas. A Japanese “Gollum.” A weakling. He comes and goes throughout the book but in his character is something we can find uncomfortably real. The relationship between Kichijiro and Father Rodrigues makes us understand about the latter’s torment.
I’ve read reviews a few minutes before purchasing this book but I’m left slightly disappointed. I felt I’ve read a different book. I was raised a Christian but no longer share the faith so maybe that’s why I couldn’t really warm up to the main conflict of the story, but still, this book may appeal to many with regards to the juxtaposition it depicts, culture, the pitiful characters and their unanswered prayers and the tough what if questions people are perhaps afraid to address because it could lead them, or not, to conclude that there probably is no God.
I’m interested to watch the movie adaptation though. Have you guys seen it? Would you recommend me watching it? Please share your thoughts.
“Man is a strange being. He always has a feeling somewhere in his heart that whatever the danger he will pull through. It’s just like when on a rainy day you imagine the faint rays of the sun shining on a distant hill.”
“Sin, he reflected, is not what it is usually thought to be; it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious of the wounds he has left behind.”
“It is easy enough to die for the good and beautiful; the hard thing is to die for the miserable and corrupt.”
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell…
~Karen Marie Moning
Letting everyone go, wondering who stays.
Do you remember your first kiss? Yes, the very first! How nice was it? Or how terrible? Ideally, specially as teenagers, we expect our first kiss to be sweet and romantic! Or hot and wild! Intense! Oh dear! Locking lips with someone we like should send tingles up our spine and leave us feeling incoherent after.
Contrary to the perfect romantic first kisses I’ve either read, watched, imagined or hoped for, mine was a turn-off. Let me walk you down memory lane because my first kiss went a little like this…
My first kiss happened many moons ago, I was fourteen, he was sixteen. His name’s Andrew. He was my ultimate crush then and little did I know that he’s got a crush on me, too. We attended the same high school and we were both athletes. We’ve known each other by face and was only formally introduced to each other in a party after almost a year of smiles and hellos during training/practice or in the corridors.
We were dating for more than a month already when it happened. Since I belong to the science classes, he has to wait for me for about an hour until I finish my last class. After class that day, we went to the small garden just at the back of his classroom so he can help me with my homework. (I remember I suck in Biology and Chemistry then!) Once we’re done, we started walking while holding hands as he led me to his classroom door.
The touch: We were holding hands then he pulled me to him and pushed me gently against the classroom door then placed his left arm around my waist while his right hand caressed my face. (I liked that part!)
The ambiance: I never thought that my first kiss would be in the most romantic place in the world — in school, outside his classroom door! I mean, come on, I’ve imagined a kind of romantic setting, too. But definitely not in school!
The kiss: Well, our noses bumped at first and I was about to laugh but he kissed me right away and the first few tender brushes of his lips against mine was magic, it did really sent tingles up my spine and made all my body cells come to life until…
The tongue situation: Eeeewww! Just eeeewww! Oh boy! Was the tongue even supposed to be there??? It’s just wet! And sloppy! I was shocked! I wanted to punch him in the face!
The aftermath: Absolutely awkward. Confusing. Disappointing. In my mind, I’m trying to figure out what just happened. Funny thing is, I ended up having a very high fever that night and wasn’t able to go to school the next day!
So my first kiss didn’t happen according to plan but well, life isn’t a movie set. But in between homework and practice, the kisses got better, more quality kissing took over for the next two years.
So how was your first kiss? Was is sweet? Or was it terrible? How old were you then? Did it turn out the way you’ve imagined it to be? I’d love to hear, after all, what better time to delurk if not during first-kiss-story sharing time, right?
If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard.
~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie