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Scandal (Peter Owen Modern Classics) Paperback – 10 Apr 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd; Tra edition (10 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720612411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720612417
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 783,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Endo's Catholicism and tireless grappling with the nature of guilt, sin, love and redemption, as well as the effortlessly luminous quality of his prose, meant that the writer he was most routinely compared with in the west was Graham Greene. But with its unsettling, dreamlike mood, playful self-referentiality and ingeniously engineered plot mechanics - Suguro is shown at his writing desk "hunched like a watchmaker" - Scandal might more usefully be compared to one of Paul Auster's metaphysical detective stories. ' Independent on Sunday --Independent on Sunday

However, Suguro's dreamlike wanderings through a Tokyo shrouded in snow and fog lend the novel an eerie beauty, which is matched by the chilly clarity of Endo's prose in Damian Flanagan's translation. At once a sinister thriller and an elegant disquisition on identity and the nature of evil, Scandal represents Endo's determination to turn the novelist's gaze inwards. It is not enough, he suggests, to look fiercely into the outer world; if the writer fails to recognize his own capacity for evil, he is ultimately a fraud. Olivia Laing, TLS --Times Literary Supplement

Scandal is a subtle, eerie and fascinating book by a writer of rare perception and disquieting honesty. John Walsh, London Evening Standard --London Evening Standard

About the Author

SHUSAKU ENDO is widely regarded as one of the greatest Japanese authors of the late twentieth century. Born in 1923, he won many major literary awards and was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. His novels, which have been translated into twenty-eight languages, include The Sea and Poison, Wonderful Fool, Deep River and Silence. He died in 1996.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I approached this book on the strength of Endo's 'Silence', one of the most profound novels I have ever read. I had taken my time getting around to purchasing 'Scandal' because of a suspicion that writers who cast a writer as the protagonist in their work have basically run out of ideas. How wrong was I! This work challenges many of our ideas about personal identity and how we attempt to reconcile the many inconsistencies and contradictions in our own behaviour and beliefs. What if we were so disgusted by our own behaviour, sexual or otherwise, that we externalised our anxieties to take on flesh and blood in the form of an imposter who shadows our every move. And what if such an imposter really existed? What if a famous writer found himself questioning his own most cherished moral principles because a dopplerganger was cashing in on his fame and behaving in a scandalous fashion. And what if this writer sought out the imposter in order to confront him, only to discover the most shocking revelations about his own true self? Does the writer begin imitating his doppelganger after exposure to the seedier side of life? Was his nature always predisposed to certain 'tastes'? Or is the imposter simply a product of his imagination? The imaginings of a man who cannot accept the hypocrisies of his own nature. This provocative work kept me in deep thought about the issues it raised weeks after I had read it. A magisterial novel that provides insights into the human condition more profoundly than any psychology textbook could ever hope to achieve.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good service from the order of the book till I receive it in my letter box. Always recommended
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x898b75a0) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89a61b4c) out of 5 stars Compelling and revealing 16 Jan. 2002
By Stephan Stuecklin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up in a used books store in Hiroshima, mainly because the selection of English books was very limited. I had not heard of Endo prior to that, but having read this work, I intend to find and read more of his novels.
The most intriguing aspect of this book is certainly how Endo manages to simultaneously keep us reading and caring for his characters even as they commit reprehensible acts. Without offering final answers, Endo details some fascinating problems inherent in human relationships and human nature. Sin? Evil? Redemption? God? Trust? Honesty? Marriage? Multiple personalities? All of these topics are intricately interwoven through the web that links Suguro, the aging writer; his decadent impersonator; his trusted wife of many years; Madame Naruse, the mysterious hospital volunteer; Motoko Itoi, the chubby painter; Kobari, the dogged reporter; and Matsu, the caring teenager. Suguro is the focal point, and the story is told from his perspective. Some characters therefore remain incomplete to us because never fully understood by him, which serves to illustrate him more clearly. Those characters that Endo can flesh out he fleshes out brilliantly, making them complex, real and believable, driving home the point that sin and evil are inherent in all of us. I found myself identifying with several of the characters and wondering what exactly (apart perhaps from the grace of God) keeps me from living out my evil desires.
In retrospect you wonder how a couple things could happen the way they did - but there may be logical answers to these problems, provided they are framed in the logical framework of the story, which isn't always the framework of everyday reality as we experience it. Other questions may be unanswerable and intended as such, for instance what the exact relationship between Madame Naruse and Suguro's wife is. To me, these open questions add to the pleasure of this book.
The story will make you think - about yourself, the people around you, the repulsive urges within all of us, and the miracle it is that not more of us go crazy. And if you let it make you think, it will tell you about yourself, and tell perhaps more than you'd like to hear. Because it plumbs the depths of human depravity, it is depressing; because it makes the reader identify with that depravity, it is frightening.
Read it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89a61ba0) out of 5 stars Worth a lifetime of rereading 26 Jan. 2006
By Daniel Lewis - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Scandal is the story of an acclaimed Japanese Christian novelist in old age named Suguro. At an awards ceremony honoring his distinguished career, Suguro hears disquieting rumors that he has been seen carousing in the red-light district. He enters the district to investigate the rumors and safeguard his reputation, but is unprepared for what, and who, he finds there.

Shusaku Endo uses this story as a kind of autobiography, accurate in depth of feeling, if not character and circumstance. He said in his A Life of Jesus that he thought of the Gospels as collectively forming a true portrait of Jesus, even where he saw them as fuzzy on the details. That is a good way to read Scandal, as a portrait of Endo.

Suguro struggles with old age, oncoming death, and the dissonance between his private self and his public reputation as an upstanding Christian. In many ways, Suguro is forced to confront himself; he learns that the foundations he has built his life upon are unsound, even his work, his marriage, and his religion. Endo's unflinching portrayal of himself in the figure of Suguro is thus poignant and, at times, tragic.

Scandal is about, among other things, a man going to a dangerous, uncertain place with his religion. Some religious people will not want to follow him there. On the other hand, this is not an exclusively Christian novel, and readers of any religion, or none, would have much to gain from it.

It is helpful, but not necessary, to have read some of Endo's other work to put Scandal in context. Silence and A Life of Jesus are classics. At least ten other works are in English translation.

Scandal is so rich and complex, and finally, so human, that it practically requires a second reading. But I am beginning to find that each time I read it, I demand another reading myself. I doubt that I will ever come to the end of it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89a61fd8) out of 5 stars deep and thought-provoking 8 Mar. 2002
By camm - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Endo doesn't give you easy answers. This book explores the darker side of human nature, the side behind easy domestic life, beyond common decency, beneath worldly success. It may not be a pleasant book to read, as it doesn't gloss over the capacity for evil in a human being, but it is a book that will leave you thinking about just how authentic you are. If you're not ready to face brutal honesty, don't read this book. But if you're prepared for some deep insights into the nature of man, you shouldn't let this one pass you by.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x897642c4) out of 5 stars Good and Evil 7 Feb. 2002
By Randy Keehn - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I just finished "Scandal" by Shusaku Endo which makes it the third book I've read by this author. All of the books have been excellent with "Silence" being my favorite. Endo is a Christian Japanese author and "Scandal", like "Silence" give an insight to the theological questions that go through his mind. The basic issue in Scandal is the relationship between good and evil in all of us. The main character in the story is a Japanese Christian writer (this whole book is pretty autobiographical with little attempt to hide that fact). At an awards ceremony he is confronted by the possibility that he has a double and that double has been spending a lot of time on the seedier side of life. The actions of his double threaten his reputation and he searches out this "doppleganger" to resolve that threat. Along the way he becomes interested in the nature and motives of the underworld people he comes in contact with.
Mr. Endo poses a variety of questions for the reader. As I previously mentioned, the main question is the level of good and evil in all of us. He seems to suggest that those of us who worship Jesus have within us the potential to have been one of those who stoned Jesus on His way to the Cross. While this is a shocking proposition to many, Endo's tale leaves one pondering the issue.
This book, like the other two I've read (including "The Sea and Poison"), is written in a compelling style that moves the reader along without any literary roadblocks. Even though you may quess correctly at some of the outcome, you want to see how the author gets you there. I rated this a "4" instead of a "5" because it fell a bit short of "Silence" so I knew he could do better.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x897643a8) out of 5 stars Darkly Surprising 8 Nov. 2006
By Brian Bear - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Just when you think you have Endo Shusaku pegged, he comes out with a king-hitter like "Scandal". I have been reading Endo for a couple of years now, being a big fan, and "Scandal" has been one that has just further confirmed Endo's versatility and insight.

"Scandal" is very much full of self-references to Endo's own life. The main character, Suguro, is a Christian author, who has written novels called "The Life of Christ", "The Voice of Silence" and so on. Fans will recognise the echos to Endo's other works. Additionally, the characters often share names with other Endo novels. Suguro also appears in "The Sea and Poison", the highschool girl Morita Mitsu comes from "The Girl I Left Behind" and Naruse comes from the pages of "Deep River", (though with a changed given name, but life details are similar).

The similarity to Endo's other works ends there, however, and "Scandal" takes a no-holds-barred look at the depravity of the human heart and the urges that lie suppressed by the individual. As Suguro hears repeated rumours that he visits some extremely questionably places in Tokyo, he begins a hunt for the presumed imposter. Along the way, he encounters much that is disturbing about himself.

"Scandal" is a book that looks unflinchingly into the darkest recesses of the human heart. Endo seems unafraid to address those issues some would prefer to be hidden away, and he makes us look at them in ways that might make us feel uncomfortable. While not shocking in the explicit sense, the book does succeed in making one feel a touch uncomfortable with the matters dealt with. Endo shows a great deal of understanding for the nature of sexuality.

Although I would not recommend the book for everyone, I would recommend it for fans of Endo and those interested in the secret desires of people and the concealed corners of our own souls. This is an excellent book.
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