The Samurai (Paperback)
One of the finest novels, from “a masterly historical writer” (David Mitchell)
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. The authorities are now pursuing an isolationist policy and a ruthless stamping out of Western influences. In the face of disillusionment and death, the samurai can only find solace in a savior they’re not sure they believe in.
About the Author
Shusaku Endo (1923–1996) is widely regarded as one of the most important Japanese authors of the late twentieth century. He won many major literary awards and was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. His novel Silence was recently made into a major film directed by Martin Scorsese.
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. He was given a lifetime achievement award from the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture of Columbia University for his translations of modern Japanese fiction.
A narrative of austere power.
— Adam Mars-Jones - Financial Times
Thick with adventure.
— The Millions
A historical fiction with meanings for many cultures and all seasons, and a
great travel narrative; its re-creations of place, from marshy north-east Japan,
to the storm-tossed eastern and western oceans, to the deserts of Central
Mexico, to the pomps of Baroque Madrid and Rome, are extraordinary. The
Samurai is animated by a rich and full spiritual vision.
— The New York Times Book Review
Endo to my mind is one of the finest living novelists.
— Graham Greene