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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

In Deep River, author Shusaku Endo follows the paths of four Japanese people on a tour of India that, for each of them, is a pilgrimage. They are all on a journey to accomplish something they believe will help them come to terms with loss, and they come together at the city of Varantha, on the banks of the Ganges River.

Osamu Isobe lost his wife to cancer, and he embarks on the journey to find a girl whom he believes to be his wife reincarnated. Mitsuko, who was his wife’s nurse, is a lonely atheist woman who goes on the journey to India for a different reason. She learns that a ex-priest she treated badly in college is now working with the poor in India, and she vows to find him and, in some way, make amends. Numada is a children's author who goes in search of a myna bird who he believes died in his place. Kiguchi is a soldier who hopes to memorialize his comrades and accept the loss of a friend who saved his life and then died in the Burma War. Though each character in the story embarks on the journey for a different reason, they share the common quest to overcome loss and obtain personal contentment. Though their quest is complicated by events surrounding the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, they each experience a spiritual awakening on their journey and arrive at the Ganges River with a fuller understanding of the meaning of life.

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