In the current BMJ (subscription required) , Dalrymple introduces us to the 1958 novel “The Sea and Poison” by Japanese author Shusako Endo, a story of medical experimentation on American POWs by the Japanese in World War II:
The book is all the more powerful for being quite short. Pascal once apologised for the length of his letter, saying that he had no time to write a shorter one. It is as wrong to suppose that the importance of a book is proportional to its length as to suppose that the moral deformations of which Endo writes are confined to one nation.
Minor correction: The name is Shusaku (with a U) Endo. He’s that rare thing, a Japanese Catholic; his saint-name is Paul. And he’s a wonderful writer!