In the 1930s, two young Japanese Christians, Sachiko and Shuhei, are free to play with American children in their neighborhood. But life becomes increasingly difficult for them and other Christians after Japan launches wars of aggression. Meanwhile, a Polish Franciscan priest and former missionary in Nagasaki, Father Maximillian Kolbe, is arrested after returning to his homeland. Endo alternates scenes between Nagasaki-where the growing love between Sachiko and Shuhei is imperiled by mounting persecution-and Auschwitz, where the priest has been sent. Shuhei's dilemma deepens when he faces conscription into the Japanese military, conflicting with the Christian belief that killing is a sin. With the A-bomb attack on Nagasaki looming in the distance, Endo depicts ordinary people trying to live lives of faith in a wartime situation that renders daily life increasingly unbearable. Endo's compassion for his characters, reflecting their struggles to find and share love for others, makes Sachiko one of his most moving novels.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 432
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm
A profound meditation on the meaning of love, sacrifice, and the spiritual dilemma of Christian beliefs vying against the demands of the nation-state. . .Sachiko is yet another example of Endo Shusaku's stunning literary artistry that demands more than one reading. Highly recommended. * Historical Novels Review *
Haunting in its content and breathtaking in its prose. . .This is a book I will be thinking about for a long time. * Dynamic Book Nerd *
In telling the story of two friends wrestling with faith and their lives in a nationalistic state, Endo offers a morally dense and thought-provoking read. Sachiko does not shy away from the horrors of war or genocide, and Endo's novel unsettlingly depicts the ways in which people can become complicit in horrific political systems. * Words without Borders *
There's such a profound kindness in these pages...[S]itting with this novel is much like sitting at a master craftsman's table. One sitting is insufficient to learn its lessons. * Englewood Review of Books *
Sachiko is a beautiful work, part love story, part tragedy, a tale of two young people caught in the wrong moment of history * Tony's Reading List *
An important work of historical fiction that raises profound questions about the moral legitimation and human cost of war, transnational relationships, and the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. -- Kevin M. Doak, author of A History of Nationalism in Modern Japan: Placing the People
Beautifully translated by Van Gessel, the doyen of Endo scholars, Sachiko confirms once again the stature of this prolific author. The parallel stories bring a fresh urgency to Endo's profound understanding of the conflicting aims of culture and spirituality. -- J. Thomas Rimer, coeditor of The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature
Set during World War II in Nagasaki and Auschwitz, Endo's novel Sachiko provides a powerful portrait of a woman who pursued a life of faith, hope, and love. This translation highlights Van Gessel's deep compassion and understanding of Japanese history, tradition, and culture. I cannot more highly recommend this outstanding and delicate translation. -- Emi Mase-Hasegawa, author of Christ in Japanese Culture: Theological Themes in Shusaku Endo's Literary Works
Ever since his arrival on the literary scene in the 1950s, Endo has continued to fascinate and challenge his readership in equal measure. In the wake of Martin Scorsese's recent movie adaptation of his best-selling work, Silence, interest in Endo's oeuvre has been renewed and Sachiko provides us with further evidence of the author's extraordinary storytelling ability. -- Mark Williams, author of Endo Shusaku: A Literature of Reconciliation
Sachiko is the best Catholic novel I have read in a long time. Avoiding a sappy and simplistic depiction of a harsh reality, Endo honestly presents the doubts and dilemmas of Christians - Japanese, American, Polish - amidst hostile surroundings in a world where violation of the Fifth Commandment was the norm. * Catholic World Report *
Endo presents a touching study of the spiritual and moral dilemmas faced by a community forced to confront the very meaning of patriotism and Christianity during a time of war. * Times Literary Supplement *
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