Silence by Shusaku Endo, first published in 1966. I read it a long time ago when I was reading Yukio Mishima. Now, I read it again and I feel it all running over me. The Catholics marching into Japan to deliver the word of god to the “godless Japanese.” The shogun culture of the Japanese fought back, and decided to expel the Jesuits. Two priests came to Japan looking for their teacher, and one found him with a Japanese name having turned his back on the church because he could not stop the suffering of the Japanese Christians who were hung over the pits and bled to death. The surreal sadness of the book followed me around on the train, like a throbbing darkness.
I read Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and really loved it. The darkness in it was palpable by sort of a cool blue. You feel the Alaskan wilderness, and the community building with each other, helping one another, you feel the desire for children. The snow child is about the way we all desire home and where we find it. But, the best parts invite you into Alaska, invite you into being in the wilderness yourself, growing potatoes, killing a moose. And then the magical child comes. We want the mother to be happy. We follow her into the woods, we follow her into the dark forest of her heart. This is a magical book about longing.