I have been trying to read more and more new authors (new as in new for me NOT new comer) lately. Unfortunately I am not the kind of person who likes to gamble on buying books from authors I didn’t know before. I had a bad experience in doing so. Therefore, to enrich my collection of new authors, I turn to Library. The only library I knew that has collection of English books is Japan foundation Library, and you can easily guess what kinds of books exist in this library!! Most of them are books written by Japanese authors. Fortunately I love Japan Literature so I don’t mind reading lots of J-literatures.
Deep River is written by one of Japanese famous writer named Shusaku Endo. I’ve heard of his name so many times but haven’t got a chance to read one of his works. It’s a spiritual kinda journey…but I like much better than 5 people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom (I finished that book in about 5 months). I like Shusaku Endo’s style of writing. He tries to deliver his religious perception in a soft way, not in the way that tries to push people in believing that his religion is the right one. I am a Moslem (now and forever) and yet I didn’t mind at all reading his description of the right Christianity. He also tries to convey the fact that no matter what your religion is God is amongst us.
The story revolved around 4 people with different backgrounds and different beliefs. They were all united on their trip to India.
Isobe was the typical Japanese husband who rarely spoke heart to heart with his wife. For him, wife is like an air to her husband, she will always support her husband but never get in the way. Things started to change when his wife was dying of cancer. He felt lost without his wife. He always thought that he will be the one who will die first. To make matter worst, his wife told him that she will be reborn and she wanted him to find her. His reason for going to India was to find his wife’s reincarnation.
Mitsuko never believe in any God, even the word God disturbed her. She was a person with a big hole in her heart. She kept on looking for something she her self doesn’t know what it is. When she was in college, she despised a man named Otsu. Otsu is a strong Catholic believer. He prayed everyday. She wanted to take Otsu away from his God. She let him became her boyfriend if he stops praying and coming to church. Her reason to come to India was to find Otsu.
Numada is an author of children books. He believed that animal can converse with human (I share his feeling in my Teaser Tuesday). He had a bad childhood experience and his dog was the one who always cheered him. When he grew up, two birds had been there with him through his hardest time. His reason in coming to India was to visit a bird sanctuary.
Kiguchi was the oldest of all, he was on of the soldier who defended Japan in Burma. Kiguchi had a terrible time during that war. He was almost died there. His friend helped him to stay alive but in doing so, his friend had to do unspeakable act. His friend was haunted by it throughout his life. His reason to come to India was to hold a ceremony for all the dead soldiers both from Japan and India/Burma.
Endo also writes about India’s beliefs. It’s nice to read Endo’s perception on India. He tells the story of each character in a very interesting way. India changes those people in several ways. Their way of seeing things also shifted in a way only they knew. Each character has strong personality and complex problem.
This isn’t the kind of book I usually read…BUT I enjoy it a lot and I am sure I will read another Endo’s book in the future. My rate for Deep River is 3 Stars (I like it)
Who is Shusaku Endo? (Copying from the back cover)
Shusaku Endo (1923-1996) was one of the most popular of the great twentieth-century Japanese writers. Influenced heavily by his Catholic beliefs, his writing focuses on moral issue in society and the individual. Born in Tokyo and raised in early childhood in the Japanese colony of Manchuoko, he returned to Japan with his divorced mother when he was ten to live with his mother’s Roman Catholic sister in Kobe. He graduated with a degree in French literature from Keio University and spent several years studying in Lyons on a scholarship from the Japanese government. Often called “the Japanese Graham Greene”, he is the recipient of many outstanding literature awards, including the Akutagawa, the Mainichi Cultural, the Shincho, and the Tanizaki Prizes. His various work include Foreign Studies, Final Martyrs, Stained Glass Elegies, and Silence.