May 23, 2014

Book Review Fridays- The Sea and Poison

If you're into dark books that delve into the psyche of Japanese surgeons, well, this here is your winner! Overall, the writing style is excellent. The author conveys his message in a subtle way that doesn't really leave you with an exact answer. You can't exactly pinpoint an antagonist because Endo explains there is such complexity in our thoughts and actions when put under pressure.

The story revolves around two main characters, a prominent surgeon, Toda, and a medical intern Suguro. The setting is in a hospital during World War II where American prisoners are held and taken for vivisection. In other words they are used as human test subjects while being alive. Eek! That being said, there are some gruesome themes that caused me to wiggle in my seat a little, but rest assured it all ties into the message of the book.

So what is the message you ask? basically these are run of the mill surgeons being offered money, and experience to perform surgeries during wartime.  These surgeons fully understand what they are doing is immoral, but the alternative means not feeding their own families. This juxtaposition is felt by all the characters involved. They express guilt, vulnerability, and fear all while doing their "duty."

It's scary for anyone to be in such a situation, so it's hard to really hate these characters. This notion that humans are infinitely complex is very intriguing to me thus the huge draw to read the book. Yes, it's dark but very satisfying. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

If you would like to read it you can use this link to buy it here.

Score- 3.9 out of 5

(Above image from

1 comment:

Carlyn Brody said...

It sounds intriguing because of the complexity of its characters. I think it would make a good movie.

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