Shusaku Endo

cover of VolcanoJinpei Suda has just retired as the director of the local meteorological institute. He is considered the expert on the Akadate volcano that lies just across the bay. For years the volcano has been inactive, and Suda has declared it extinct. But with the arrival of a new, eager young member in the institute who challenges his judgement, Suda becomes insecure and starts to climb the volcano again.

Father Sato is exhilarated. He finally received permission to build a new church on the foot of the Akadate. It will be larger and more beautiful than any of the churches in the vicinity. The land is bought and all but cleared and he impatiently awaits the start of the construction.

(Father) Durand, however, the former priest of the parish has his doubts. He has had them for a long time now, not just about god but about almost anything. Having turned a cynical, sick old man, he hopes that the Akadate will erupt to wash away the old and make place for the new.

An interesting but rather slow novel about people’s fears and hopes and about getting old and seeing the new replacing what you have built. The stories of the three main characters above are only loosely connected; they live more next to each other than with each other. I found Durand, the expelled priest the most interesting character. His cynical doubts and painful (self-) accusations make him the most memorable of the protagonists.

I think this book is fitting to the latest eruption of Sakurajima as mentioned in Monday’s post, as the story – with the volcano across the bay looming over the city – is quite clearly set there.

Check this book out on amazon – enjoy!