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“This is the second book by David Mitchell that I've read and it's clear the excitement about him is warranted. The story of Jacob de Zoet and the Dutch and Japanese who live and work in Dejima and Nagasaki is so engaging that you will hardly realize what a thorough education you are receiving in...”see full review » see other reviews »
“An author, I think, who writes fine sentences but less engaging stories. Although an entirely different style, he reminds me of Martin Amis in this respect. As with Cloud Atlas, the story fragments - the opening at Dejima gripping my attention and giving me high hopes, but other parts leaving me cold. And yet strangely, despite the disappointments, I always feel I should persist with him. ”Jamesman wrote this review Tuesday, April 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is quite a difficult review to write. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a long book and it could be argued that not a great deal happens within its pages. However, sometimes entertainment is a long road and not a short sprint. Some of the descriptive writing is so breathtakingly, heart achingly adept it cuts like a scalpel through to your heart.
Jacob De Zoet is a naïve man trying to do the right thing. He wears his principles like a jacket and of course the low cunning of the scoundrels around him exploit this weakness. The story is set on a trading post on a man made atoll called Dejima on the shores of Japan in the late 1700’s.
It was this unique setting with Japan trying to reach out from the stagnation of centuries of closed borders that held my attention. There was unrequited love, beauty, heroics and layers upon layers. Not one for those that like a quick and easy read but if you enjoy depth and detail this will leave you enchanted.
“An epic journey... unforgettable!!”Rose S wrote this review Tuesday, April 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“David Mitchell is by far the most talented contemporary writer of fiction there is and his latest -- while in many ways a complete departure from his previous, tremendously enjoyable novels -- is a spectacular tour de force of historic detail and compelling human interest. Mitchell is a master and I recommend everything he's written, especially the story of Jacob De Zoet.”Curtis Wilson wrote this review Monday, April 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When his potential father in law suggests to Dutch clerk Jacob de Zoet that to have his daughters hand in marriage he must first journey to Japan the young man jumps at the chance. The father feels that Jacob needs to gain his own fortune if he is to wed his daughter. The only other stipulation is he, and his true love, must be parted for five years.
The year is 1799. Europeans have been trading with the oriental islands for two centuries. The Japanese have long tolerated the unclean, uncivilised westerners and have come to find them mildly amusing. There are still certain cultural differences between these two nations where courtesans are not whores and yet still women are subservient, even more than they are in Europe.The code of the samurai still holds sway and then Jacob meets the scarred daughter of a powerful samurai, Aibagawa Orito, and his perspective takes a quantum shift.
A wonderfully inventive story that manages to mix in its cocktail of delights romance, political intringue, thriller and odd splashes of humour.
David Mitchell’s star is the ascent following the ‘Cloud Atlas’ film and rightly so. He deserves all the accolades afforded him. His imagination is quite incredible and his prose masterful. I especially like some of the sentance structure which manages to draw influence from master poet Matsuo Kinsaku (Basho). These minimal one liners evoke a Japan that had that strange, otherwordly beauty so alien and at odds with the West. "The night-soil man's buckets, swinging on his pole, stain the air."
This is a novel that really should be read. And read again.”
“A great novel about the life of a conscientious clerk at Deshima, an early 18th century Dutch merchant colony in Japan. Contrasts nicely with the Shorto book on New Amsterdam. I couldn't put this book down during the holidays.”Rene Bekkers wrote this review Sunday, March 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book is as much historical romance as "The Name of the Rose" is.
Aside the fact that I am half-Japanese and my husband is red haired, this book is a favorite because it transports me back to Japan, and reflects all about it that are beutiful, puzzling, but also horrid. Reading this book is like going on vacation.
And yeah, the story and the prose are fantastic, as well.
My favorite quote: "The soul is a verb."”
“As with the other DM books, a truly compelling read. Fascinating as it talks about a bit of dutch history pur sang, and as a cloggy, have to love it. The flow of the book is gripping, not losing out on the details and depth of character. Jacob de Zoet teaches and is being tought lessons of life, living in a remarkeble era in a mysterious country. Again, David Mitchell wrote a novell that made me think, react, research, feel. Just what literature is supposed to do!”Victor Rijkaart wrote this review Tuesday, March 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm reading this book in preparation of a (potential) interview with author David Mitchell. --- An intriguing blend of accurate historical fiction, adventure tale and gothic novel, situated at the Dutch trading post Deshima in Japan around 1800. I'm a big fan of Mitchell, who is famous for his stylistic virtuosity and surprising genre-bending novels. The interview went really well and will be published later this year.”H.H. Eymers wrote this review Monday, February 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Opnieuw een boek van David Mitchell. Ofschoon ik het gevoel heb dat ik niet alle fijne nuances, zeker ook in het Engels, zie of begrijp, is dat wat ik wel lees en wel zie en wel voel in dit boek van een adembenemende schoonheid. Ik ben erg benieuwd naar de vertaling van dit boek om te zien welke lagen en betekenissen ik miste, maar ook in het Engels is dit boek voor de non native speaker een aanrader van de eerste klasse.”aart velthuijsen wrote this review Sunday, February 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No