• The Sea And Poison

On the first day of First Surgery’s project, three prisoners were scheduled for operations. The aims of the vivisection experiment were described as follows:

  1. Saline is to be injected into the blood stream. The quantitative limits of such a procedure before death occurs are to be ascertained.
  2. Air is to be injected into the veins and the volume at which death occurs is to be ascertained.
  3. The limit to which the bronchial tubes may be cut before death occurs is to be ascertained.

From the author of Silence, The Sea and Poison is Shusaku Endo’s most disquieting novel and a masterful study of individual and collective moral disintegration. Set in a Japanese hospital during the last days of the Second World War, the story centres on the medical staff who offer to assist in a series of vivisections – experimental operations on live American prisoners of war.

The Sea and Poison won the Akutagawa Prize when it was published in Japan in 1958 and established Shusaku Endo in the forefront of modern Japanese literature.

‘Endo’s finely wrought descriptions of place and the monotonous routine of daily life in a hospital subtly but powerfully evoke the despair and terror of a people at war. He presents here a decidedly postmodern world, where individuals exist in a state of disconnected anomie. Despite its bleakness, the novel is compulsively readable. We are fascinated even as we are repelled by these characters’ moral corruption and their slow, inevitable decline.’ – Publishers Weekly
The Sea and Poison describes war and its effect on the personality as eloquently as anything I have ever read.’ – Irish Times


SHUSAKU ENDO (1923–1996) is widely regarded as one of the most important Japanese authors of the late twentieth century. He won many major literary awards and was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. His novels, which have been translated into twenty-eight languages, include Silence, The Sea and Poison, Wonderful Fool, Deep River and The Samurai. For many years his work was championed by his friend and agent the publisher Peter Owen. His masterpiece Silence has recently been filmed by director Martin Scorsese, a cherished project the esteemed director has worked towards for decades.

Bibliographic Data
Date Published 7th July 2016
ISBN Number 9780720616859
Pages 224

The Sea And Poison

  • £8.99


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Tags: Endo, Scorsese, shusaku endo, Silence, Sea and Poison, Wonderful Fool, Foreign Studies, Samurai, Japanese literature, Christian literature, christianity, Japan, historical fiction, history, World War II, Second World War, World War Two