I haven’t even read the whole book. After scanning bits and pieces of this remarkable novel, I think this will probably end up in heartbreak. No, not the heartbreak you’d feel after finishing Nicholas Sparks’ ‘A Walk To Remember.’ Neither would it be like the hollowed feeling after reading Mario Puzo’s ‘The Dark Arena.’ It would probably be closer to the emotions swirling within you and around you, after reading Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ and Cormac Mccarthy’s ‘The Road.’ A mixture of hollowness and heaviness in the deep recesses of your being. And after accepting the weight it left in your heart, you’ll probably see why, understand its purpose, learn from it, and pass it forward.. No not the heartache, but the simple gift of knowing and understanding. Here’s an excerpt:

“It is not man who judges. God knows our weakness more than anyone, reflected the priest.

I, too, stood on the sacred image. For a moment this foot was on his face. It was on the face of the man who has been ever in my thoughts, on the face that was before me on the mountains, in my wanderings, in prison, on the best and most beautiful face that any man can ever know, on the face of him whom I have always longed to love. Even now that face is looking at me with eyes of pity from the plaque rubbed flat by many feet. ‘Trample!’ Said those compassionate eyes. ‘Trample! Your foot suffers in pain; it must suffer like all the feet that have stepped on this plaque. But that pain alone is enough. I understand your pain and your suffering. It is for that reason that I am here.’

‘Lord, I resented your silence.’

‘I was not silent. I suffered beside you.’

‘But you told Judas to go away: What thou dost do quickly. What happened to Judas?’

‘I did not say that. Just as I told you to step on the plaque, so I told Judas to do what he was going to do. For Judas was in anguish as you are now.’

He had lowered his foot on the plaque, sticky with dirt and blood. His five toes had pressed upon the face of one he loved. Yet he could not understand the tremendous onrush of joy that came over him at the moment.

He loved him now in a different way from before. Everything that had taken place until now had been necessary to bring him to this love. ‘Even now I am the last priest in this land. But Our Lord was not silent. Even if he had been silent, my life until this day would have spoken of him.‘”

– Silence, Shusako Endo


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