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Scandal - Shūsaku Endō, Van C. Gessel okay, not really stunning. what for a catholic writer comes off as "daring, and gripping descent into sin", is for the modern reader, elicts a reaction just one freakin' schoolgirl? . probably more valuable for some theorizing about the nature of artists-- Erich Fromm and the Frankfurt School than any real literary merit.

Endou, a member of international PEN, and part of the "Japanese literary establishment," spends too much time talking about 'the psychology of the aging writer' and not enough plot

the characters are supposed to interact, Mr. Endou!

do innocent-looking schoolgirls not have tricks up their sleeve?

does the possibility of REAL LOVE not tear at your heart!

well of course Mr. Endou has passed away.

so let us not speak too ill of a deceased individual's work.

a portrait of 1980s culture

street-side group dancers

a member of the literary establishment

Shinjuku sexual establishments

various forms of perversion

thoughts on love and death

no plot no plot no plot


May 4th 2013, further commentary;

as UK's top reviewer mentions one of the appeals of this book is that it shows how much Haruki Murakami is indebted to the establishment Endou. separately, I have noted artists whether rock musicians / writers tend to be fascinated by the theory of the book. it is an artist's artist book;

this is a book that has come out of the "Japanese literary establishment" so to speak; the same JLE that tried to suppress Haruki Murakami and eventually acceded to this overwhelming international appeal, and that consists of two hundred cranky old men and women discussing matters of literary production as if they are, so to speak, the direct heirs of Sei Shonagon and Lady Murasaki. now to some degree an establishment exists as well in NYC, covered by John Updike in his Beck at Bay book, but obviously London and NYC don't have quite the same level of specialization or power over the publishing industry as the bright minds of Kamakura/Tokyo.

because it is a writer's writer book or a "book of books," the work lacks general appeal and probably won't make that much of an impact to a generalist reader. Endou takes up the podium, so to speak, and fills the work with the abstract concerns of an elderly writer, his lifelong theme Christianity/morality, and deals with artistic theory as well. if you want your books filled 1/2 with "theory of creativity/theory of artists", then it is valuable to you in that regard. but otherwise, no real use to the wide audience.