Van C. Gessel

Van C. Gessel is a professor of Japanese at Brigham Young University, and has a Ph.D. in Japanese literature from Columbia University. After joining the Church of Latter-day Saints in 1968, Gessel served as a missionary to Japan from 1970-71.

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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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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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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