Suguro, a Japanese Catholic writer on the last years of his career, respected and idolized by people who find his themes enlightening, suddenly cannot help but look for the real source of evil in people's lives. He goes to places unheard of befitting a Catholic authority - bars, massage parlors, love hotels. He hires a young, pretty middle-school student, Mitsu Morita (not the one in The Girl I Left Behind) as his personal maid. He befriends a volunteer at the local charity hospital, a professor's widow who has embarked on a lesbian relationship with one of the street artists who once painted a portrait of him...
This is played on by Yoshio Kobari, an ambitious young journalist who's looking for a big-break story, and who believes Suguro is just another professional hypocrite. As Kobari pursues Suguro, and as Suguro denies him, the reader is left with questions. Is Suguro evil at heart? Is his dark side acting up? Or is it a doppelganger who's doing those "dreadful" things?
Whereas many people took it as an autobiographical "confession" by Endo when it was published, this book is really a story of a man's soul-searching adventure in discovering that, at heart, he is weak, and only by confronting the weakness he will become stronger.
This report prepared by Sergio Mendoza