by Phil Johnson

The only person, so far, to move a finger to supply some material for this column is Shelley Ritchie, writing from Japan. She writes, “Saw your note about enjoying Endo. [Shusako Endo, Japanese novelist—see “Reading,” Winter, 1990, pp. 15, 16]. I didn’t care for Scandal—possibly because the theme has been treated similarly by other Japanese writers. My two favorites are Silence and Samurai.”

Since the last Reading column, I have read Endo’s play, The Golden Country, and the copyeditor and I are midway through Silence. Both treat the period of persecution of Christians in Japan during the 16th and 17th centuries. Endo gives the persons involved—Jesuit priests, Japanese Christians and their underground Church, and their Japanese antagonists flesh, blood, and spirit.

Shelley Ritchie continues: “Do you like mystery stories? I think good ones often show more about human nature and the human condition than books whose explicit purpose is to do that. In any case, my son (who is an archaeologist with the forest service and made this discovery through that avenue) introduced me to the mysteries of Tony Hillerman, who writes about the Navajo Indians. Both in terms of place and people, he writes with insight (The Blessing Way, Dance Hall of the Dead, Listening Woman, Coyote Waits).” To Shelley’s list we add Talking God and thank her for a great tip.