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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

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Description

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller, from the author of CLOUD ATLAS and THE BONE CLOCKS.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010

Be transported to a place like no other: a tiny, man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki, for two hundred years the sole gateway between Japan and the West. Here, in the dying days of the 18th-century, a young Dutch clerk arrives to make his fortune. Instead he loses his heart.

Step onto the streets of Dejima and mingle with scheming traders, spies, interpreters, servants and concubines as two cultures converge. In a tale of integrity and corruption, passion and power, the key is control - of riches and minds, and over death itself.

From Publishers Weekly

12 April 2010 – 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, naïve 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.

Customer Reviews

Why give one star to a book just because it's expensive?

Surely that is not the issue when rating a book you dunderhead. And the dullard who gave it one star with an arrogant 'enough said' is clearly a moron without the ability to enlarge on his brief, witty and incisive opinion.
Its a wonderful, beautiful book, that I didn't want to end. Read it - you'll love it unless you are a dunderhead, dullard or smug moron.

Fantastic

It's a grate read. So cleverly written. Don't want to spoil what happens but the story line is grate.
Best book I have seen in a long long time. Strongly recommended .

Stunning writing

I finished reading this amazing novel tonight. A novel that builds into a fast-paced adventure from carefully constructed beginnings as a work of political/ historical intrigue, David Mitchell once again shows his playfulness with genre and his sensibility as a storyteller who takes you on a journey. There are moments of heart-stopping drama but it is the writer's ability to convey the thoughts of his characters that will stay with me for a long time. I loved his other novels but this is superlative. A Booker winner?

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
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  • £5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: 13 May 2010
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Print Length: 300 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings