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Wonderful Fool (Peter Owen Modern Classic) [Paperback]

Shusaku Endo , Francis Mathy
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Mar 2000 Peter Owen Modern Classic
Endo's masterly novel that has been compared to Dostoevsky's The Idiot. 'Everything I have read of Endo's is memorable. He never disappoints.' - Anthony Thwaite
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Publishers; New edition edition (28 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 072061080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720610802
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.3 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,119,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Endo to my mind is one of the finest living novelists.' -- Graham Greene

'The Japanese writer who appeals most to an audience outside Japan. Everything I have read of Endo's is memorable. He never disappoints.' -- Anthony Thwaites

About the Author

Known as the 'Japanese Graham Greene' Shusaku Endo was born in Tokyo in 1923. Widely regarded as the most distinguished of contemporary Japanese writers he won many major literary prizes during his lifetime. His books, which have been translated into twenty-eight languages, include Silence, The Sea and Poison, Deep River, Scandal and The Samurai. Short-listed for the Nobel Prize on several occasions, he was elected to the Nihon Geijutsuin, the Japanese Arts Academy in 1981 and was also a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He died in 1996. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This novel was one of the first of Endo's books that I read and is still my favorite. In it the main character gaston a 'horse faced' descendant of Bonepate comes to Japan on a special mission, the details of which are not revealed till the final page. Gaston shows his naive innocence, love and compassion with every person he encounters. Especially with the main character who is out to revenge the death of his brother.Endo gives this character his own surname and clearly identifies wants to identify himself more with the 'hopeless sinner' than the 'innocent saint'. Though Tomoe the girl in the book makes the discover that there are fools and fools. " A man who loves others with an open hearted simplicity, who trusts others no matter who they are, or even if he is deceived or even betrayed...is indeed bound to be written off as a fool... But not an ordinary fool. He is a wonderful fool who will never allow the little light which he sheds along man's path to go out. The novel is simply and beautifully written. Endo wrote all his novels by hand in pencil. The carefully crafted images own much to a haiku type simplicity. If you enjoy Wonderful Fool you will be eager to read others where the same characters emerge in different guises always with Endo's distinctive view of Japanese Christianity enfolded within the plot.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and not foolish at all! 30 Dec 2003
'Wonderful Fool' goes where Western novelists cannot. Endo just gets on with the story. He doesn't try to define or psychoanalyse Japan. He is not obsessed with geisha or tea ceremonies or ascents of Mt Fuji. However, in the minutiae of the narration, there is much over which Japanophiles can get excited. (Although it was written some 50 years ago, the novel reveals a fairly modern Japan).
The snapshots of Tokyo are great. We get a taste of seedy-Tokyo, gangster-Tokyo, business-Tokyo, after-work Tokyo and suburban Tokyo. Are these snapshots real or pure fiction? Who cares! They leave the Lonely Planet guide for dead.
Endo's action scenes are an unexpected treat and call to mind manga. There is something quintessentially Japanese about their delivery. The whole of the translation is the same. I love the choice of words and phrases - the English is flawless yet it has a ring of scholarly foreigness about it. Mixed with violence - which is graphic enough (shovels are brought down emphatically on heads, outstretched hands are stomped on) - is comedy. There are some extremely funny moments in this novel.
In addition, the story is layered perfectly and excitement mounts as the climax draws nigh. The end, unfortunately, is a bit of a let down. But since it's such an irrepresible book, and since I received such an entertaining insider guide through Tokyo, I got over this disappointment quite quickly.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, harrowing novel 8 Mar 2002
By Steven Fouch VINE VOICE
In some ways this is a very short, almost repetative novel, in which little seems to happen. But the spiritual and moral struggle of its protagonist, and the final resolution are both staggeringly powerful and inevitable. Having recently re-read Mary Doria Russell's 'The Sparrow' there are obvious parrallels, but there are major differences - where Russell's priest learns to hate God through his torture, Endo's priest comes to a new understanding and love of Jesus that transforms his life and sufferings. A remarkable book.
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