Silence is a work of historical fiction, set in 17th century Japan. It follows a Portuguese missionary in search of a colleague in Japan, during a time when Christianity was outlawed, and its followers persecuted. It is a dark and harrowing tale that brings to life a little-known chapter in history. It contains complex discussions on matters of faith, belief etc.
This book is often categorized as religious fiction, and indeed, Endo’s Christian beliefs are believed to have influenced it. However, I don’t think you have to be a Christian, or religious at all to appreciate this book. I am not one for religion myself, but I was quite captured by the intensity, the depiction of pain and torture and faith and belief in the book. Needless to say, it is not an easy read, but I thought it was a pretty worthwhile one.