From Publishers Weekly
Elegantly divided into three sections, this 1965 novel by the celebrated Japanese author of Scandal calibrates the dislocation of Easterners transplanted to the West. "A Summer in Rouen," set shortly after WW II, follows the recipient of a church-sponsored scholarship that has brought him from Japan to France to study Christian literature; his interest in the West is returned by his well-intentioned hosts' paralyzing inability to view him as more than a blank canvas for their own designs. "Araki Thomas" tells of the first Japanese student in Rome, a Christian sent there at the dawn of the 17th century who, realizing that the importation of the foreign religion brings with it certain death, renounces his faith after he returns home, choosing survival for himself and for his people. The themes of these two sections are deepened in "And You, Too," in which an ambitious academic named Tanaka goes to Paris in the 1960s to become an authority on the Marquis de Sade. Despite the presence of a community of Japanese scholars and artists, Tanaka feels as alienated as the hero of "Rouen," "constantly experiencing the sense of distance between himself and a great foreign spirit, and keenly aware of his own inferiority." The effort destroys his health; as in "Araki Thomas," the price for integrating the force of a foreign culture is life. Paradoxically, Endo transcends all cultural barriers; far from foreign, his work has the intimacy and the vastness of the universally true.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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About the Author
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Shusaku Endo is widely regarded as one of the greatest Japanese authors of the late 20th century. He has won many major literary awards and was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. His novels, which have been translated into 28 languages, include Deep River, The Samurai, Scandal, The Sea and Poison, and Silence.