I don’t usually select a book by its cover, but the artwork depicting a priest at prayer against the backdrop of a bleeding sun was the catalyst for pulling this book off the shelf. That, and the title, which if you’re like me and are surrounded by hundreds of teenagers every day, was rather appealing.
The book is a novel, but begins with a preface which reads more like a history tome. Remember having to read The Scarlet Letter in high school and being so zombified by the sprawling preface that you ran for cover in the Cliff’s Notes? Well, Silence is kind of like that, but my advice is to put on your big kid breeches and wade through the preface. It’s worth it and will help you better understand the crusade of Fr. Rodrigues. This is definitely what my kids call a “thinking book”.
We follow Fr. Rodrigues to Imperial Japan as he attempts to re-establish the former Christian stronghold stamped out by repression, torture, and the corporate apostasy of the previous priests attempting to initiate Catholicism to “the ends of the earth”. The book is not so much about the outward adventure (yes, there’s LOTS there to mull over), but about the internal crisis of faith Rodrigues grapples with as God remains doggedly silent in the face of atrocity.
The book also parallels the betrayal of Jesus by Judas and lends perspective on their relationship. Will Fr. Rodrigues be able to withstand the trials of faith even when it puts others in grave danger, or will he renounce Christianity altogether in the deafening silence? I think the answer will surprise you as well as inspire you to examine your own spiritual strengths and weaknesses.
Rocky Rates It: 4/5 Stars