I am a long-time fan of Shusaku Endo, the Japanese writer. I have read (I think) nearly all of his books available in English translation. I discovered this book of short stories during my recent adventure at the St Paul Public Library.

If you have read Silence or any of the other Endo novels, you might find this collection interesting. He used many of the short stories (and, to be accurate, personal essays) as exercises for working out many of the characters that appear in other novels.

If you read one Endo novel, I’d recommend Silence or Deep River.

If your tastes run more to nonfiction, I highly recommend his A Life of Jesus, one of the most thoughtful and moving retellings of the Christian story that I have read. Note: in The Final Martyrs is an essay talking about the experience of writing Life and he mentions that he re-wrote it, feeling very dis-satisfied with the original edition. I’d like to read both editions now, to see if I can understand his feelings.