cover image Scandal


Shusaku Endo. Dodd Mead, $0 (261pp) ISBN 978-0-396-09320-6

In this chilling, incisive study of the secret fears and obsessions of an aging writer, eminent Japanese author Endo examines the uncertain territory that lies between studying acts of violence and depravity and committing them. At 65, the writer Suguro is revered by his readership and most of his colleagues, although some accuse him of shying away from sex in his works and mock his rigorous sense of evil. His anticipation of a placid old age with his wife begins to crumble when a woman accuses him of pursuing a life at odds with his prose; she claims he frequents Tokyo's porn shops and bordellos. As he attempts to unravel the mystery of the accusation, prodded by a vindictive reporter who threatens to expose him, Suguro discovers that he has a double, a sinister alter ego who participates in brutal sadomasochistic encounters. But the more urgently he tries to clear his name, the farther he drifts from stability and peace. This provocative, impassioned meditation manages to explore not only the nature of identity, but also the regions of sin, salvation, art and religion, all with the unerring grace that defines a novelist in the fullest command of his craft. (August)