I have to admit that sometimes when I read an author who is overtly religious in his writings, I tend to be a bit wary. It’s not that I mind glaring beliefs – not at all – but I don’t like it when it gets preachy, one reason why I’m not a big fan of Paulo Coelho.
As a student of Theology Endo’s Silence is his classic and a must read (erm which I haven’t read yet) and I was bit surprised that the editors of this list would place one of his littler known works here. Thankfully although there is a huge morality tale it never descends into the clichéd or preachy.
Isobe , Mitsuko , Numada, Kiguchi and Otsu all have problems in their life and feel the need to redeem them in certain ways. As fate has it four of these people decide to visit India, and more specifically The Ganges River in order to find a solution to all their problems. Isobe wants to find out if his recently deceased wife has reincarnated into an Indian (this does not sound as ridiculous as I am making it) , Mitsuko had sexually teased the religious Otsu in order to make him reject his faith, while he was ordained but was never accepted into religious institutions due to his open ideas about Religion. Numada is an animal lover who seeks out a myna bird ( again you’ll have to read it in order to understand) and Kiguchi committed an act as a soldier in the Burmese war, which he considers dreadful. In the river does help the characters discover themselves and start anew but there are consequences.
Deep River is quite an awesome book. It sways between beauty and terror from paragraph and is very uncompromising when dealing with the general attitude towards the Catholic religion. As I said before Endo does not descend into the wishy-washy and he makes his message clear. Also his depiction of India is one where the rich and poor are separate but need each other at the same time. Not to mention the role The Ganges has a centre of death and rebirth.
To say I enjoyed this novel is an understatement. It teased and pulled my emotions constantly and just kept me going to the semi tragic conclusion. If this is considered one of his weaker novels I have to see what Silence is about!!