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Ambassadors

Pat Rogers, 3 June 1982

The Samurai 
by Shusaku Endo, translated by Van C. Gessel.
Peter Owen, 272 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 7206 0559 8
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The Obedient Wife 
by Julia O’Faolain.
Allen Lane, 230 pp., £7.50, May 1982, 9780713914672
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Pinball 
by Jerzy Kosinski.
Joseph, 287 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7181 2133 3
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Brother of the More Famous Jack 
by Barbara Trapido.
Gollancz, 218 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 575 03112 3
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... By the Western calendar, the events chronicled in Shusaku Endo’s latest novel take place between 1613 and 1624. But of course that is an artificial way of looking at the matter. Half the book takes place in Mexico and Europe; Endo has the cosmopolitan range of a partly ‘Westernised’ figure, educated in the Catholic faith ...

Singular Rebellions

Walter Nash, 19 May 1988

Scandal 
by Shusaku Endo, translated by Van Gessel.
Peter Owen, 237 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 7206 0682 9
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Hell Screen, Cogwheels, A Fool’s Life 
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Eridanos, 145 pp., £13.95, March 1988, 0 941419 02 9
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Singular Rebellion 
by Saiichi Maruya, translated by Dennis Keene.
Deutsch, 412 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 233 98202 7
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... in dreams and fictions; sometimes it happens in life. It happens to the principal character in Shusaku Endo’s Scandal. Suguro is in his sixties, a successful man, methodical, self-disciplined, attentive to household obligations and the needs of his ailing wife, a man in the midst of life, with the taste of death on his tongue and the shapes of death ...

How many nipples had Graham Greene?

Colm Tóibín, 9 June 1994

... everybody seemed to use Tanqueray in the Dry Martinis.’ He wrote to writers whom he admired. To Shusaku Endo, whose Wonderful Fool was, he wrote, ‘a marvellous book – so much better than my own Power and the Glory’. To Flann O’Brien: ‘At-Swim-Two-Birds has remained to my mind ever since it first appeared one of the best books of our ...

Smilingly Excluded

Richard Lloyd Parry: An Outsider in Tokyo, 17 August 2006

The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 
by Donald Richie, edited by Leza Lowitz.
Stone Bridge, 494 pp., £13.99, October 2005, 1 880656 97 3
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... And yet to the Westerner with intellectual aspirations it is a small pond. The Catholic novelist Shusaku Endo compared Japan to a tropical mud swamp: when living flowers are transplanted from elsewhere they grow vigorously for a while, put out lurid blooms, but eventually wither in the strange minerals of the new soil. In 150 years, foreigners in Japan ...

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