quote for today

So I begin the challenge to read twelve books over the next twelve (or so) weeks. I figure I've got to cover about 50 to 100 pages a day to stay up with the reading. I don't know if it's do-able, but I'm going for it anyway. I'm starting with the books that I don't want to miss, should the baby come and take me away from the books for a while. (Well, maybe I could just read the books to the baby, but who knows.) Today's entry is The Final Martyrs, a short story collection by Shusaku Endo (translated from the Japanese, 1993). Endo is very depressing but extraordinary writing. If you've never read any Japanese work (other than comic books) you'll be struck by the simplistic power of it. I started reading Endo after I finished the chapter featuring him in Phil Yancey's Soul Survivor. Another great book, BTW. Anyway, here's the book:

and the quote: "And so the fourth persecution at Uragami began. Once the inconsequential invalids and women and children were released from the Sakura-cho prison, thirty-eight men, including young men and their aged leaders, were stuffed into a narrow, stifling cell. Included in this group were Kanzaburo, Zennosuke and the face and large body of Kisuke, who, needless to say, was panic-stricken. "The next day several of the men were hauled before the court. Those who refused to 'topple' [deny their faith in Christ] were submitted to a torture known as dodoi. Their arms and legs, throat and chest were bound with ropes, which were all knotted together in one spot behind their backs. Then they were hoisted up on to a cross, while officers who stood below struck them fiercely with poles and whips. They were lowered to the ground and water was poured over them. The ropes would absorb the water and constrict tightly, gnawing into the flesh of the captives, Those who remained in the cell heard cries like the dark yowls of wild creatures coming from the court, punctuated by taunts from the officers." --Shusaku Endo, The Final Martyrs (trans. 1993), pp. 17.


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