THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER David Mitchell's novels have captivated critics and readers alike, as his Man Booker shortlistings and Richard & Judy Book of the Year award attest. Now he has written a masterpiece. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the kind of book that comes along once in a decade - enthralling in its storytelling, imagination ...
THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER David Mitchell's novels have captivated critics and readers alike, as his Man Booker shortlistings and Richard & Judy Book of the Year award attest. Now he has written a masterpiece. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the kind of book that comes along once in a decade - enthralling in its storytelling, imagination and scope. Set at a turning point in history on a tiny island attached to mainland Japan, David Mitchell's tale of power, passion and integrity transports us to a world that is at once exotic and familiar: an extraordinary place and an era when news from abroad took months to arrive, yet when people behaved as they always do - loving, lusting and yearning, cheating, fighting and killing. Bringing to vivid life a tectonic shift between East and West, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is dramatic, funny, heartbreaking, enlightening and thought-provoking. Reading it is an unforgettable experience.
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A time and place that readers know nothing about; interesting characters; touching love story....
Jun 16, 2011
Another David Mitchell marvel
I don't have a long time to write this critique, so I'll get the point - David Mitchell is absolutely schizoid. No one can write in so many personalities, dialects, and side plots. He is absolutely amazing and, at the end, you'll swear you read and anthology or something from several authors.
If you have any doubts whatsoever, pick up a copy of "Cloud Atlas" (if you can afford it - it is EXPENSIVE, unless you get it on your Kindle) and you will be treated to a masterpiece of the richest literature. Enjoy.
Sep 16, 2010
a Different Time & Place
A curious peek into the Japanese character and societal values as well as a good historical fiction story that has all the elements of a 17th century Madam Butterfly.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-04-12 Mitchell's rightly been hailed as a virtuoso genius for his genre-bending, fiercely intelligent novels Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas . Now he takes something of a busman's holiday with this majestic historical romance set in turn-of-the-19th-century Japan, where young, na´ve Jacob de Zoet arrives on the small manmade island of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor as part of a contingent of Dutch East Indies officials charged with cleaning up the trading station's entrenched culture of corruption. Though engaged to be married in the Netherlands, he quickly falls in hopeless love with Orito Aibagawa, a Dutch-trained Japanese midwife and promising student of Marinus, the station's resident physician. Their "courtship" is strained, as foreigners are prohibited from setting foot on the Japanese mainland, and the only relationships permitted between Japanese women and foreign men on Dejima are of the paid variety. Jacob has larger trouble, though; when he refuses to sign off on a bogus shipping manifest, his stint on Dejima is extended and he's demoted, stuck in the service of a vengeful fellow clerk. Meanwhile, Orito's father dies deeply in debt, and her stepmother sells her into service at a mountaintop shrine where her midwife skills are in high demand, she soon learns, because of the extraordinarily sinister rituals going on in the secretive shrine. This is where the slow-to-start plot kicks in, and Mitchell pours on the heat with a rescue attempt by Orito's first love, Uzaemon, who happens to be Jacob's translator and confidant. Mitchell's ventriloquism is as sharp as ever; he conjures men of Eastern and Western science as convincingly as he does the unscrubbed sailor rabble. Though there are more than a few spots of embarrassingly bad writing ("How scandalized Nagasaki shall be, thinks Uzaemon, if the truth is ever known"), Mitchell's talent still shines through, particularly in the novel┐s riveting final act, a pressure-cooker of tension, character work, and gorgeous set pieces. It's certainly no Cloud Atlas , but it is a dense and satisfying historical with literary brawn and stylistic panache. (July ) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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