The Samurai

Fiction by Shusaku Endo

Translated by Van C. Gessel

In 1613, four low-ranking Japanese samurai, accompanied by a Spanish priest, set sail for Mexico to bargain for trading rights with the West in exchange for a Catholic crusade through Japan. Their arduous journey lasts four years, as they travel onward to Mexico then Rome, where they are persuaded that the success of their mission depends on their conversion to Christianity. In fact, the enterprise seems to have been futile from the start: the mission returns to Japan to find that the political tides have shifted.…
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The Final Martyrs

Fiction by Shusaku Endo

Eleven short, deeply spiritual stories ranging from autobiographical serendipities to solemn, empathetic parables. The title story is set during the 18th-century Shogunate persecution of Christians in Japan and was the basis for Endo’s book Silence. Shusaku Endo is the winner of the Akutagawa prize (the Japanese equivalent to the Pulitzer) and his books have been widely translated. Martin Scorsese is currently working on a film adaptation of Silence.
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Five by Endo

Fiction by Shusaku Endo

Here gathered in this small volume are five of the great Japanese writer Shusaku Endo’s supreme short stories exemplifying his style and his interests, presenting, as it were, Endo in a nutshell. “Unzen,” the opening story, touches on the subject of Silence, Endo’s most famous novel—that is the torture and martyrdom of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan. Next comes “A Fifty-year-old Man” in which Mr. Chiba takes up ballroom dancing and faces the imminent death of his brother and his dog Whitey.…
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Deep River

Fiction by Shusaku Endo

Translated by Van C. Gessel

The river is the Ganges, where a group of Japanese tourists converge: Isobe, grieving the death of the wife he ignored in life; Kiguchi, haunted by war-time memories of the Highway of Death in Burma; Numada, recovering from a critical illness; Mitsuko, a cynical woman struggling with inner emptiness; and, the butt of her cruel interest, Otsu, a failed seminarian for whom the figure on the cross is a god of many faces.…
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The Girl I Left Behind

Fiction by Shusaku Endo

Prefiguring themes of his later work, the acclaimed Japanese writer Shusaku Endo here writes of choices made by young adults learning who they are and what they want in life. Yoshioka Tstomu is a student, not much interested in his studies, short on cash and long on sexual desire. Eventually he will settle down in a career and marry his boss’s niece. Yet he begins to hear a voice in his head that sparks a memory of Mitsu, a plain, naive country girl he once took callous advantage of during his college days.…
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The Sea and Poison

Fiction by Shusaku Endo

Translated by Michael Gallagher

The novel The Sea and Poison won the Akutagawa Prize when it was published in Japan in 1958 and established Shusaku Endo in the forefront of modern Japanese literature. It was the first Japanese book to confront the problem of individual responsibility in wartime, painting a searing picture of the human race’s capacity for inhumanity. At the outset of this powerful story we find a Doctor Suguro in a backwater of modern-day Tokyo practicing expert medicine in a dingy office.…
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Stained Glass Elegies

Fiction by Shusaku Endo

Translated by Van C. Gessel

The arresting beauty of Shusaku Endo’s fiction is best known in the West through his highly acclaimed novels The Samurai and Silence. His consummately wrought short stories, with their worlds of deep shadows and achieved clarity, are less familiar. The dozen stories of Stained Glass Elegies, selected by the author together with his translator, display the full range of Endo’s talents in short fiction.
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