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An With two masterly portraits of two men who have lived their lives both physically and metaphorically under the shadow of the Akadeke volcano this cruci I loved Volcano and finished it in just a few days End uses beautiful language to tell a story and delve into 2 men s reflective gaze into their lives Central to the story are the issues of compassionate love or better the lack of it aging death and self worth I found the two main characters fascinating and well brought to life In the character of Jimpei Suda End perfectly captures the fears and dread of a person s whose life s work is on the line and who when looking back on his life sees it was mostly devoid of meaningful relationships In Durand a man who also sees his life s work as a failure and a desire to watch it all burn to the ground The exploration of the inner worlds of these men was the novels greatest element I also enjoyed the use of the volcano itself as both a metaphor for aging and a plot device ever working building up towards an explosive ending Having lived in Japan and visited Kagoshima the city on which the setting borrows from I greatly enjoyed this window into the Japanese experience Another great work by End

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Kazan by Shūsaku Endō

Al work in Endo's oeuvre charts the conflicts between them which have explosive results This is the first paperback edition of one of Endo's greatest work I m so glad I gave Endo a second chance after being terribly disappointed by Silence This is a much satisfactory novel The main characters are Suda a meteorologist and seismologist and Durand a catholic priest who s been expelled from the Church Both men are reaching the end of life and end up meeting in hospital after Suda has his first stroke Suda devoted the last 15 years of his career to a close study of volcano Akadak a short boat ride away from town Suda prides himself on knowing this volcano better than anybody else even though in fact he has just espoused unconditionally his mentor s view that Akadak is about to become extinct and can t have any major eruptions This theory is music to the ears of an ambitious businessman who needs Suda s word to convince investors to put money into a brand new Western style hotel complex on the slopes of the volcano The novel starts on the day of Suda s retirement when he reaches a deal with Aiba in exchange for Suda s scientific support of his real estate scheme Aiba will pay for the publication of Suda s detailed study of the volcano On the other hand Durand s successor Father Sato also has plans to his own to build a retreat centre for his parishioners on the volcanic island so that all the characters have a stake in what happens with Akadak When Suda starts having doubts about potential eruptions it is too late and he dies without being able to express his misgivings His last weeks are embittered by the realization that his relatives are impatient for him to die and that his long obsession with Akadak may not have made him the peerless specialist he thought he was In fact it becomes clear that his involvement with Aiba s scheme clouded his judgement For his part Durand actively wishes the volcano to erupt because having made a mess of his life he can t stand the sight of people having a good time His favorite pastime is to go and hang around Father Sato s church to needle the poor well meaning priest and frighten his former parishioners For a bit of sick fun he gives alms obtained from Father Sato to a young convert in the hope the young man will do something sinful with it At the end of the novel with both construction projects well under way the reader cannot but share the characters s anxiety about what the volcano will do This is a measure of Endo s achievement with this simple but very effective story about men faith and bad faith

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From the author of Silence this powerful novel of ideas is also a sensitive and moving depiction of the trials of old age set in the central region of Jap My outing into the Japanese literature has always been a rewarding experienceThis is also no exception A simple theme expounded using the Japanese landscapeOne of the natural happenings associated with Japanese geology is volcanic eruptions This novel is set in a town close to a olddyingdead volcano There are mainly three principal characters 1 a traditional Japanese who is also the retired Section Chief of the Surveillance Section of the Weather bureau 2 a old age defrocked French Catholic missionary priest and 3 a Japanese Catholic priestThe three of them view the volcano in three different ways The Japanese Weatherman sees it as symbolism old age He believes the following about the volcanoWhat a mount of heartache it is A volcano resembles human life In youth it gives reign to the passions and burns with fire It spurts out lava But when it grows old it assumes the burden of past evil deeds and it turns as uiet as a graveBut only at the final lag of his life he realizes that man in his old age looks back at his life an his misdeeds And that is a torment for he now has no time to change his life It is already late The old age and the last moments your memories burn inside you like the subterranean lava And you die with a heartacheFor the defrocked French Catholic missionary the volcano stands for Evil The evil cannot die and cannot keep uiet So the volcano which everyone believes to be a dying one is challenged by him For evil cannot die It will erupt again For the Japanese Catholic priest the volcano stands for sin and redemption As the volcano which was active once and has come to its last days taking on the form of a serene mountain so too people can turn away from sins and take a new birth And for this reason he builds a retreat house on this mountainThe interesting this about the novel is that Endo leaves us with a suspense There are indications to suggest that the volcano has not died Volcano can become active anytime soon Now read into all the symbolism again Old age is not something serene and peaceful It can be full of burning lava The Evil even when it remains uiet it works on through invisible tentacles Sin can anytime become victorious over redemptionBesides these there are revealing insights into sickness and old age and for Japanese Catholics insights into CatholicismChristianity in Japan the incompatibility of Christianity to Japanese culture By the way Endo was a Japanese Catholic


10 thoughts on “Kazan by Shūsaku Endō

  1. says:

    My outing into the Japanese literature has always been a rewarding experienceThis is also no exception A simple

  2. says:

    This was a melancholic book which I had some trouble connecting with despite its interesting depictions of Japanese culture What I did enjoy was the symbolism of the volcano linking it to human life The two protagnonists Jinpei and Father Durand were both pretty pathetic characters Jinpei was uite horrible to his wife and sons and was obsessed with the volcano; Father Durand was relatively tyrannical too and spent most

  3. says:

    Volcano was originally published in 1959 and is set the town of Kagoshima on Kyushu Island which is situated at th

  4. says:

    A priest a former priest a retired weatherman and an oily councilman potter around as a dormant volcano may or may not be about to eruptSome good passages about what it means to grow old but ultimately this was not a book that moved me Two s

  5. says:

    I loved Volcano and finished it in just a few days Endō uses beautiful language to tell a story and delve into 2 men’s reflective gaze into their lives Central to the story are the issues of compassionate love or better the lack of it aging death and self worth I found the two main characters fascinating and well brough

  6. says:

    A petty scientific functionary retires grapples with his meaningless existence and horrible family in the shadow of a volcano which may or may not erupt Endo was a great talent and his status as a Christian offer

  7. says:

    I'm so glad I gave Endo a second chance after being terribly disappointed by Silence This is a much satisfactory novel The main characters are Suda a meteorologist and seismologist and Durand a catholic priest who's been expelled from the Church Both men are reaching the end of life and end up meeting in hospital after Suda has his first stroke Suda devoted the last 15 years of his career to a close study of v

  8. says:

    'A volcano resembles human life In youth it gives rein to the passions and burns with fire It spurts out lava But when it grows old it assumes the burden of those past evil deeds It turns deathly uiet as we now behold it Nevertheless a human being is not entirely like the volcano When we grow old will cast a backward glance upon our lives bec

  9. says:

    Shusako Endo was a Japanese Catholic at a time when Catholics represented less than 1% of Japan’s population and he had a very hard time reconciling Catholicism and the traditional Japanese culture and religion Because of this–and because Endo suffered from lung disease for much of his life–the themes of serious illness and the uestion of whether or not the Japanese can be true practitioners of Catholicism are recurring t

  10. says:

    A volcano resembles human life In youth it gives rein to its passions and burns with fire It spurts out lava But when it grows old it assumes the burden of those past evil deeds and it turns as uiet as a grave You younger men can hardly fathom the pathos of this mountainAcuired after browsing the shelves of a small independent bookshop I picked this up because I'd be reading it on holiday in Sicily an island partly famed for its volcano A