The 1966 novel Silence is a Japanese classic, and author Shusaku Endo’s masterpiece. Graham Greene called it, “In my opinion one of the finest novels of our time.” Martin Scorsese seems to agree, as he’s turning the novel of faith into a film starring Andrew Garfield.
Silence follows a seventeenth century Portugese priest, who is living in Japan during a time when the country’s Christian minority suffers persecution. Largely written in the form of a letter, the novel centers on the idea of a silent God accompanying a believer during trying times, and was influenced by the racism, religious discrimination, and terrible tuberculosis Endo, a Catholic, suffered during his lifetime.
For the release of Silence as a Picador Modern Classic, Picador Creative Director Henry Sene Yee called upon a brilliant Japanese illustrator, Yuko Shimizu, to design the jacket.
“I’d recently become obsessed with Japanese illustrator Yuko Shimizu’s work,” Yee tells EW. “Her approach to contemporary subjects rendered in traditional calligraphic Japanese brush & ink work was gorgeous. Every line had its own unique stroke and texture. I wanted to work with her but I didn’t have the right project until Silence was added to my list. I asked if she would be interested and her response couldn’t have been more perfect.”
As it turns out, Shimizu “went to a Christian high school in Japan a long time ago,” Yee says. “This book was some of the teachers’ and students’ favorite books about faith and resilience. She never had a chance to read it and wasn’t sure why since it was considered like a ‘second bible’ in her school.” Shimizu said “she would be honored to take on this project and finally have a chance to read it.”
“I wish all first time meetings were this easy,” Yee adds.
This edition of Silence hits shelves January 5, 2016. Check out the gorgeous cover below: