Set in the turbulent years of the transition from the shogunate to the Meiji Restoration, Kiku's Prayer embodies themes central to Endo Shusaku's work, including religion, modernization, and the endurance of the human spirit. Yet this novel is much more than a historical allegory. It acutely renders one woman's troubled encounter with passion and spirituality at a transitional time in her life and in the history of her people. A renowned twentieth-century Japanese author, Endo wrote from the perspective of being both Japanese and Catholic. His work is often compared with that of Graham Greene, who himself considered Endo one of the century's finest writers.
About the Author
Van C. Gessel is professor of Japanese at Brigham Young University. He is the author of Three Modern Novelists: Soseki, Tanizaki, Kawabata; coeditor of The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature; and translator of seven literary works by Endo Shusaku, including The Samurai and Deep River.
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments
Mitsu and Kiku
The Road Is Long
The Temple of the Southern Barbarians
A Day of Hope
Battles in the Dark
A Chance Encounter
The Setting of the Sun
The Valley of Pain
Two Kinds of Love
A Man Named Ito
The Blessed and the Unblessed
The Third Winter
Snow. And the Blessed Mother
Between the Lines: Author's Afterword
What People are Saying About This
I can't think of another work by Endo that combines, as well as Kiku's Prayer, his exceptional skills as an author of historical fiction and his extraordinary ability to write fictional stories that truly touch one's heart.
Kevin M. Doak, Georgetown University
Endo Shusaku writes with force and stylistic verve about the vexing experience of living at the intersection among cultures, religions, and belief systems. This novel is a touching, deftly handled character study that traces the processes by which Kiku achieves self-understanding and some measure of spiritual reconciliation.