Sachiko, Shusaku Endo’s World-Historical Novel

(pcess609/Getty Images) In his depiction of Japan and Europe during the Second World War, he treats the kinds of human love, including the romantic and the self-sacrificial.

Sachiko, by Shusaku Endo, translated by Van C. Gessel (Columbia University Press, 408 pages, $28)

If you read only one new novel this year, let it be the great Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo’s Sachiko. Actually, it is not a new novel, as it was published first in 1982 but is only now getting an English translation in the Weatherhead Books on Asia series, in which Van C. Gessel has also translated Endo’s Kiku’s Prayer: A Novel (2013), a predecessor of the current historical novel. (In 2020, Gessel received the Myoshi Translation Award for his lifetime service in translating modern Japanese literature.)

Shusaku Endo, born in 1923, died 25 years ago this month and is one of the great novelists of post–World War II Japan, having attracted by his earlier works the highest praise from fellow novelists, including Graham Greene and John Updike. His best-known work in English is the historical novel Silence (1966; English, 2009), which has been made into a full-length feature film three times by different

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