Some time ago while I lay on the couch, a wave of thought came over me – What is the nature of death? Our own existence is what we’ve known since birth and contemplating the end of existence feels like a foreign invader. The idea that all of this will cease struck me, it struck me to the core. I felt hollow inside and numb. I lay there for almost an hour, still, staring up at the popcorn ceiling. Boy, was that a horrible feeling. There’s nothing productive about those kinds of thoughts and I haven’t delved back in since, but I did come to one truth: Death is scary and it’s assured.
Pet Sematary deals with this very topic. The main character, Louis Creed, faces it at every turn throughout the novel. A general physician working at the University, Creed believes death is the natural order of things. However, when his neighbor, Jud, takes Louis and his family out to the pet cemetery behind their house, his journey with death begins. It feels only natural that a story about cemeteries would deal quite heavily with the topic of death, and King provides. Death is the central figure in the entire story if not the main antagonist.
I had been reading The Song of Susannah by Stephen King when my wife brought home two copies of the book Silence by Shusaku Endo from the library. She wanted to read them together and discuss. Though I generally love reading Stephen King, The Song of Susannah just wasn’t doing it for me (I still need to finish it). Silence pulled me in quickly. The prose flowed well, though some of the translation was sloppy, and the compelling, yet simple, story kept me engaged. So, it was goodbye, King, and hello, Endo. He explores many themes, but of all of them I’m only going to focus on the idea of Christian love and faith, and how the two could potentially be in conflict under certain circumstances.
It took me roughly a week and a half to finish Silence. Examining the literature from an English standpoint is difficult. I can only imagine what might be lost in translation, and frankly the translation by William Johnston was less than impressive. Either way, I’m only assuming that overall Endo’s subtext and themes come across fine within the English translation.