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David Mitchell reinvents himself with each book, and it's thrilling to watch. His novels like Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas spill over with narrators and language, collecting storylines connected more in spirit than in fact. In The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, he harnesses that plenitude into a more traditional form, a historical novel set in Japan at the turn into the 19th century, when the island nation was almost entirely cut off from the West except for a tiny, quarantined Dutch outpost. Jacob is a pious but not unappealing prig from Zeeland, whose self-driven duty to blurt the truth in a corrupt and deceitful trading culture, along with his headlong love for a local midwife, provides the early engine for the story, which is confined at first to the Dutch enclave but crosses before long to the mainland. Every page is overfull with language, events, and characters, exuberantly saturated in the details of the time and the place but told from a knowing and undeniably modern perspective. It's a story that seems to contain a thousand worlds in one. --Tom Nissley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (South Asia and Europe)
Finalist for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Finalist for the Walter Scott Prize
Longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
A Globe and Mail Best Book
A New York Times Notable Book
“A page-turner...[David] Mitchell’s masterpiece; and also, I am convinced, a masterpiece of our time.” Richard Eder, The Boston Globe
“An achingly romantic story of forbidden love...Mitchell’s incredible prose is on stunning display.... A novel of ideas, of longing, of good and evil and those who fall somewhere in between [that] confirms Mitchell as one of the more fascinating and fearless writers alive.” Dave Eggers, The New York Times Book Review
“The novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction has published a classic, old-fashioned tale...an epic of sacrificial love, clashing civilizations and enemies who won’t rest until whole family lines have been snuffed out.” Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“By any standards, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a formidable marvel.” James Wood, The New Yorker
“A beautiful novel, full of life and authenticity, atmosphere and characters that breathe.” Maureen Corrigan, NPR
I almost gave up on this book the first fifty pages in. Mitchell throws us right into the story without any true preamble. Read morePublished 8 months ago by reluctantm
Found the book difficult to get into. The author's attention to detail becomes very distracting. As the details often have nothing to do with what is going on, other than an... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Cathy Leugner
A wide-sweeping historical fiction which opens our eyes to the late 18th/early 19th centuries in a land which has changed so dramatically; as well as the fiction of benevolent... Read morePublished 21 months ago by John Converse
This was a complex and absorbonh tale. The book was well constructed and written. I enjoyed learning about the early dutch colony in Japan and the interation of the inhabitants of... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2013 by Nicole Bernard
I really like David Mitchell - love Cloud Atlas and Number9Dream in particular - but "Thousand Autumns" didn't do much for me. Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2012 by Tommy Tom Tom