New York: Taplinger Publishing Company, 1979. Octavo, black cloth, gray boards, original dust jacket. Early owner signature, closed tear to back panel, gentle crease to rear flap of clean, unclipped dust jacket. Item #856
"NOW YOU ARE GOING TO PERFORM THE MOST PAINFUL ACT OF LOVE THAT HAS EVER BEEN PERFORMED"
Second edition in English of a Japanese convert's acclaimed novel of Jesuit missionaries in seventeenth-century Japan. Translated by William Johnston, the first edition in English appeared in 1969. This second edition appeared with a notable endorsement on the front of the dust jacket—"In my opinion one of the finest novels of our time" (Graham Greene). The narrative begins with a short Prologue: the Society of Jesus has received troubling reports from Japan. Father Cristovao Ferreira, the Jesuit provincial, has disappeared and is rumored to have renounced God—that is, "apostatized." Christianity has been outlawed as a threat to Japanese culture and it is being burned out of the islands of Japan in the most brutal way possible. Two young priests, Sebastiao Rodrigues and Francisco Garupe—once Ferreira’s pupils—are dispatched to Japan to search for their former mentor. As the priests are pursued from village to village, the novel meditates on man's eternal question: "Why is God continually silent while those groaning voices go on?" An Appendix presents the Diary of an Officer at the Christian Residence.