My Thoughts On Endo’s Volcano

FTC Disclaimer:  I received a review copy of this book for my fair and honest review and in no way was compensated for it.

Late in March, I was approached, for the first time, to participate in an advance review.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t consider a review request but after taking some time to read about the author, Shusaku Endo, and the books, I felt both of these titles were something that I would be interested in reading.  The two books are Volcano and When I Whistle.  My next post will detail my thoughts on When I Whistle.

Volcano, by Shusaku Endo, is published by International Publishing Group and distributed by Trafalgar Square Publishing here at home in the good ole USA.

Endo wrote from a unique perspective as a Japanese author whom was also a practicing Catholic.  This quality is a rare one in Japan as when Endo was baptized, less than 1% of Japan’s population were Christians.

Here’s a quick synopsis of what the book is about:

One of Shusaku Endo’s finest works of fiction, Volcano is a powerful novel of ideas as well as a sensitive and moving depiction of the trials of the old age, set in the central region of Japan.

With masterly portraits of two men who have lived their lives – both physically and metaphorically – in the shadow of a volcano, Endo’s novel charts the conflicts between them and poses profound questions about man’s relationship with nature.  Rich in symbolism and enhanced by two of the author’s most remarkable characters, Volcano is unforgettable.

I was really excited at the opportunity to read a new author, in particular, one from Japan.  I’m not overly familiar with authors from the Far East, and being a military brat, I enjoy reading books by authors from non-English speaking countries.  These works often give you a perspective about a country and their culture that you wouldn’t ordinarily see and/or experience.

While reading Volcano, I was really interested in the fates of Suda and Durand, the two main characters of the book.  However, as interested as I was in these two characters, my thoughts couldn’t be too far away from the volcano, Akadaké.  I felt Akadaké was as much a main character as Suda and Durand.  Akadaké is constantly there, whether the volcano is alive or dormant, which I never really got a strong sense it was either or.

Suda and Durand both fascinated me with their respective obsessions.  Suda with studying Akadaké to ensure it was dormant, and Durand with his battle with the organized Catholic church in Japan, and his feelings where Akadaké wasn’t dormant.

I could definitely see the clash between traditional Japanese values and more modern-day values throughout the book, and that was something I greatly appreciated.  The writing style and translation were such that it felt like I could be sitting with the narrator in my living room with a glass of wine listening to the story in person, that’s how close I felt to the narrator in the book.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading Endo’s Volcano and I look forward to reading more works by him.  I’m so glad I was introduced to an author that I had never read before.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about Shusaku Endo and about Japanese culture.


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

2 Responses to “My Thoughts On Endo’s Volcano”

  1. Seems like a very interesting read! The only Japanese fiction I have read so far is Murakami’s, and I’m very curious to read a novel by another Japanese author. I’m adding this to my TBR list!

    • Awesome! I enjoyed both Volcano and When I Whistle much more than I thought I was going to. I haven’t yet read anything by Murakami. I’m certainly hoping that later on this year, that I’ll be able to tackle 1Q84. Thanks for dropping by!

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