Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Japanese "Scandal"

“A person never knows their own true face. Everybody thinks that the phoney, posed social mask they wear is their real face.” 

Like any other Japanese novel that I have read, Shusaku Endo's "Scandal" impresses with the way the story unfolds and with the main character's struggle. Even if some critics have found the motif of the Doppelganger (a ghostly counterpart of a living person according to Merriam-Webster) a bit boring, I was taken aback by the way in which, step by step, everything turned blurry and I could not predict what was going to happen next. The mystery and confusion surrounding the main character, the old writer Suguru, always trying to write a better book, did not bother me; in fact, this was the key element that made me finish the novel in no time.

“True religion should be able to respond to the dark melodies, the faulty and hideous sounds that echo from the heart of men.” 

What would you do if one day someone accused you, a person of high moral beliefs, of something embarrassing and undesirable? What would you do if your wife discovered you actually hired the young girl you had been dreaming about dating to help her with the daily chores? Would you accept the invitation to a love hotel in order to hunt down the impostor that pretends to be you? What if that impostor is, in fact, you?

The novel, written in 1986, is set in Tokyo and it describes the night life of that period, with the sins and impulses that it involves for the modern man. I quite liked the story mainly because it reminded me of Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. A must read for all Japanese Literature lovers. 


Bellezza said...

I love Shusako Endo, and I'm thrilled that Silence is now a film, but I have not read (or heard of) Scandal. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. No one does thrillers or enigmas like the Japanese.

Ally said...

Yes, indeed, Scorsese has made Silence into a movie which I am looking forward to seeing. I have so many books planned for the challenge, but that will probably be for the next one :)

Bellezza said...

Now that I have my computer running properly again, I am here to catch the link to your post to add to the review list. Happy New Year! xoxoxoxo

Ally said...

Thank you, M! :) Happy New Year!