I am not sure how I missed this when it was first published, but I am glad I found it. I must admit that I had to persevere through the first 50 pages, but once the narrative picked up, I was hooked. A fascinating look at Japanese life and Dutch trading in the 18th century and human love.
Indie Next ListJuly 2010
Honest, forthright Jacob de Zoet, the nephew of a Dutch preacher, journeys to the Nagasaki of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, at the peak of Dutch trade with Japan. Through his eyes, we see this absorbing tale of the clash of cultures, replete with political machinations, plots within plots, graft and corruption, unrequited love, and the struggle of the 'good' to persevere throughout it all. A thoroughly satisfying read! -- Lynne Almeida, Spellbinder Books & Coffee Bar, Bishop, CA
By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland.
But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”
A magnificent mix of luminous writing, prodigious research, and heedless imagination, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the most impressive achievement of its eminent author.
Praise for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
About the Author
David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Bone Clocks, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell translated from the Japanese the internationally bestselling memoir The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
Praise for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet…
“A page-turner . . . [David] Mitchell’s masterpiece; and also, I am convinced, a masterpiece of our time.”—Richard Eder, The Boston Globe
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