鈴 the empty bell. 2 – Book Review – Deep River. Shusaku Endo is a Japanese, Christian novelist. His most famous book, Silence, origi- nally published in , . THIRTY years separate Deep River (translated by Van C Gessel, Peter Shusaku Endo’s most probing novel since his masterpiece, Silence. While sometimes shaky, the novel Deep River by Shusaku Endo on faith is also profound in parts.

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Deep River by Endo Shusaku. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers.

Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be enod unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

The complete review ‘s Review:.

Deep River is a novel of spiritual journeys. Lots of spiritual journeys. It begins with the wife of Isobe being diagnosed as terminally ill, with endl a few months to live. In typical Japanese fashion, the diagnosis is kept from her though she catches on pretty quickly, wasting away in hospitalwhile Isobe realizes he has never really been that close to her and has, in many senses, failed her as a husband. Her dying demand of him is that he look for the reincarnation she is certain she will return to edno world as.

Deep River (novel) – Wikipedia

It’s a tall order for Isobe. Because he lacked any religious conviction, like most Japanese, death meant to him the extinction of everything. Nevertheless, he makes a sincere effort to follow her wishes, looking into this eiver reincarnation idea and even corresponding with academics who study it. Eventually, this leads him to join a group tour to India, inwhere he thinks he might find what he’s looking for. Among the others on the tour happens shusak be a woman who volunteered at the hospital while Isobe’s wife wasted away, Mitsuko.


She is pulled to India because she is also looking for a spiritual encounter. An oddball Christian at the university she went to, she seduced him on a whim and challenge — and demanded he gives up his religious ways if he wanted to shusqku with her. When she dumped him, he turned all the more devoutly to Christianity, going to France to become a priest.

A few years later she visited him in France — while on her honeymoon! Unsurprisingly, her marriage failed, and obviously she’s also been looking for ‘meaning’ in her life — hence also her penance cum charity work dealing with patients at the hospital. There are others on the trip too, including a veteran of the war who suffered greatly during the Japanese campaign in Burma, a successful author who writes “stories with dogs and birds as their main characters”, and a couple on their honeymoon.

They have a Japanese tour guide, Mr.

Enami, who studied for four years in India and then found to his great disappointment that no Japanese university was interested in having him preach that kind of eastern wisdom, reducing him to this; he does his job dutifully, but is immensely frustrated. As he tells his French superiors: I don’t think God is someone to be looked up to as a being separate from man, the way you regard him.

I think he is within man, and that he is a great life force that envelops man, envelops the trees, envelops the flowers and grasses.

Deep River Summary & Study Guide

I can’t help but be struck by the clarity and logic of the way Europeans think, but it seems to me as an Asian that there’s something they have lost sight of with their excessive clarity and their overabundance of logic, and I just can’t go along with it. Their lucid logic and their ways of explaining everything in such clear-cut terms sometimes even causes me pain. It’s hard not to see Deep River as Endo’s own religious summa. Japan’s most famous Catholic writer, he also had a difficult time in Europe and also had severe medical issues which are also echoed in this bookyet clung to his Christianity.


The East-meets-West aspect of Deep Riverand the suggestion of how Christianity can meld with eastern religion — the way how he, near the end of his own life, fit all the pieces of his experience together– frequently threaten to overwhelm the book — but then, of course, that basically is the book. Endo is a fine writer, and much of the novel is quite good.

An interesting feature is that he times the India-trip so that they are there when Indira Gandhi is assassinated by a Sikh bodyguard — another religious complication he has a bit more trouble with. But this remains a book a book about spiritual journeys — which would be fine if it weren’t so freighted with a specific message, which can make it tough to take.

Granted, being entirely unspiritual, I am hardly the ideal audience for such a story, but it’s the preachiness on offer here rather than the focus on the spiritual that weighs the books down so terribly — belief, after all, is a common enough human condition, and can readily be conveyed even to those who don’t share it without becoming too irritating, but Endo too often is more preacher than novelist here.

Simplistic notions of ‘east’ and ‘west’ also grate — this is a late-twentieth century novel by a worldly writer, and are thus considerably harder to excuse or accept than in fiction from an earlier time.

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Deep River

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