The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

by David Mitchell,  rrp $33

Following the literary success of his previous novels Ghostwritten, Cloud Atlas, and Black Swan Green, young British author David Mitchell takes us to 17th century shogunate Japan with a story of a young Dutch clerk of the Dutch East India Company.  Jacob De Zoet is an uptight young man who is sent to an island in the bay of Nagasaki with the task of fixing the accounts of a company riddled with corruption.  Dutch influence is dissipating and English naval power is increasing, and Japan remain fiercely insular with no navy of its own and no view to the outside world barring the port.

Jacob falls in love with a beautiful but affected midwife, Miss Aibagawa, but the relationship is forbidden by tradition, politics, culture and law.  What follows transcends Mitchell’s earlier success as he weaves a clever and fascinating historical and political masterpiece that amazingly captures the consciousness and voice of three distinctive narratives.  The Dutch, the Japanese and the British characters are so disparate and individual, it is hardly possible to be written by the same author!  David Mitchell is a true talent, and though he is known as an experimental and existential author, his latest novel of a chronological narrative seems to be his greatest feat.  This beautiful work is full of verbal intensity and is definitely a must-read, for Mitchell fans and non-Mitchell fans alike.

In store now!

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