October Book Group - Whte man/Yellow Man by Shusaku Endo

I'm starting the October Book Group discussion off a little early as I'm away next week.
October's choice is White Man /Yellow Man by Shusaku Endo.
The discussion is being led by me, but Endo was suggested as an author for the book group by the late Leo. I've never read any of Endo's works, and having read the blurb for this am slightly trepidacious about whether I'm going to enjoy this or not. I chose it as it is one of the few of Endo's works that is available on Kindle, and being two novellas shouldn't be too long a read.
As per usual, I'll post some questions around about the 20th.

Comments

  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Oh dear, is no one else interested?
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    You said you were trepidatious about whether you would enjoy it, from the blurb. Have you started reading it and is it interesting? I'd be potentially interested to read it, if it's good, but your trepidation has made me feel a bit trepidatious too!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    @fineline , my trepidations are due to reading that it’s about man’s cruelty to each other and I’m not good at reading books that depict that in any detail. I’ve just started to read it and intend to crack on with it when I’m stuck on a plane this afternoon. I’ll let you know later whether my worries were justified.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    Ah, okay. I hadn't been able to get a clear idea of what it was about from googling, and thought it might just be heavy and dull. I'll have a go at reading it too, and see what I think. The good thing with Kindle books is that if you don't like them, you can return them for refund within seven days, so if I don't get into it at all, I'll do that.
  • MaramaMarama Shipmate
    I've downloaded the book, and will try it. I've not fancied the books for the last couple of months, so I'll see how this one goes.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Well I've finished reading it. I'll post some questions on the 20th or maybe a bit before.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I'm opening up the discussion now as the next few days could be busy. Not quite sure what I thought of the two novellas and couldn't really engage with them, as it is the sort of subject matter I usually make sure I avoid. Did you finish them @Marama and @fineline, and if you did what did you think?
  • MaramaMarama Shipmate
    I'm afraid I'm going to withdraw this month. I started White Man, but I have a few challenging things going on at the moment, and a study of sadism was just too much.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I haven't read them yet - been very busy and tired lately - but I plan to read them over the weekend. I will post my thoughts.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I have read the first novella, White Man. I found it interesting. It seemed to me to be an exploration of good and evil, challenging the ‘them and us’ attitudes people can have towards people they consider evil. It looks both at how supposedly ‘good’ people (embodied here in a Catholic priest and nun) can be selfishly motivated, and ‘bad’ people (embodied here by Nazi torturers) can love music and their families, and so still be nice, normal people in some aspects of their lives.

    In some ways, it reminded me of East of Eden, with the theme of a character acknowledging the harmful desires inside him - though while East of Eden characters saw themselves as having a choice, this character seems more fatalistic about it, and kind of amoral - he just accepts this is who he is and goes with it.

    The end seems to be a challenging of his cynicism though - he sees the priest as being ego driven, wanting to be a martyr, but the priest and nun both act with a self-giving for the sake of each other, suggesting that human nature can’t be reduced to the nihilistic view the narrator holds.

    That was my interpretation. I imagine the second novella will shed more light on the first one.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Thanks @Fineline, as I said I didn't really engage with either, though I slightly preferred the second one.. To me both novellas seemed to be about people who were extreme outsiders, with little concept that other people actually feel emotions, think differently etc. etc. Not having read any other Endo I don't know if that is an enduring theme in his work.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I have started reading Yellow Man now, and an finding it interesting, and very different so far from White Man, other than comments on Catholicism, though I imagine I will start to see how they link. I’m finding interesting the perceptions of the self-described ‘yellow man’ of white people - how he sees them as making a drama out of life - and I’m wondering how that links in with the white narrator of the first novella, and those characters in general. And I’m finding myself curious what the view of the author is.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I read Yellow Man. I didn't really get into it - found it quite disjointed, maybe because I was tired.
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