The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
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From the author of Cloud Atlas, now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer
BONUS: This edition contains a discussion guide for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, and costly courtesans comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout 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 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 of which will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings.
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layered. lyrical. atmospheric. immersive. interesting juxtaposition of grit and graft and orderly tradition. a beautiful and beautifully written historic novel.
During the first section I began to fear that the story was devolving into a trashy forbidden-romance novel, but Mitchell had other designs and the novel turned out to be a beauty. I really dug his lyrical prose style and am looking forward to reading a few more of his works.