Silence by Shūsaku Endō
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was very excited to read this book. This was the second selection of our Department Book Club and I pushed hard to get this one picked. Unfortunately, I didn't like it. I felt obligated to finish the darn thing because we will be discussing it in a week or so, but I really struggled to read this.
First, the story wasn't original. I kept seeing Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption and Heart of Darkness in this novel. As well as a ton of overt biblical allusions. I get it, Kichijiro is Judas! You don't need to keep harping on that through the last half of the novel. Now, I have read books that are similar to other books, but the problem in this instance is that it wasn't done particularly well. I felt like there were winks and nods through the whole novel as if the author was saying, "See what I did there, see? I'm clever." No, not really.
The first half of the novel just dragged. Lots of sitting in shacks and waiting and hiding. And then the second half of the novel should have picked up because some action actually started happening, but it didn't. I was very disappointed in the entirety of the plot.
Silence wouldn't have been all that bad if it had had some interesting or beautiful sentences/images, but it was very blah writing. Maybe it was the translation and maybe this book is much more beautiful in the Japanese, but I was dying for a beautiful Faulkner-like sentence. Unfortunately, I never got one. Nothing noteworthy in this novel.
The thing that kills me is that the reviews for this book are glowing in many respects. I just don't know why it has 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon and 4.09 here on Goodreads. Maybe I just didn't get it. A major disappointment for me.
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