Another book I started with high hopes which failed to live up to my expectations. Endo's characters all end up seeming contrived and sometimes ridiculous in their actions and dialogue as the stories progress and they make their pilgrimages to the Hindu and Buddhist holy sites along the Ganges. I was hoping for some insight into Christianity as it is viewed and experienced in Japan and the Orient but was instead treated to an individual's ecumenistic dreams. And I think maybe he sets up some of his characters as straw men to let us all know what he thinks of modern materialistic Japan. The character's backgrounds are all somewhat interesting and I think Endo writes very well (or has been translated very well). However, no great events happen, no deep thoughts are offered, no great revelations are found, and ultimately, the book ends up being a rather boring read. I saw another review somewhere before I started reading this that said: "Deep River, Shallow Story" - I agree. It's not your everyday pulpish junk, so I bumped up the 2.5 stars to 3. I can't imagine spending time on another Endo work again.