Darin Lenz, Ph.D., associate professor of history, contributed to Reflecting Silence: Perspectives Shusaku Endo’s Masterpiece, a digital reader’s guide to the novel. The PDF is at images.macmillan.com/folio-assets/readers-guides/9781250082275RG.pdf and more information is at us.macmillan.com/static/picador/silence/. Lenz is also mentioned in ScreenBrew regarding the Martin Scorsese film based on the book at screenbrew.com/silence.
Silence tells the story of two Christian missionaries who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The 1966 novel of historical fiction by Japanese author Shūsaku Endō is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan, who endures persecution in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”). Written partly in the form of a letter by its central character, the theme of a silent God who accompanies a believer in adversity was greatly influenced by the Catholic Endō’s experience of religious discrimination in Japan, racism in France and a debilitating bout with tuberculosis. Scorsese’s film of the same name is currently in theaters.