UChicagoLaw's Reviews > The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
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One of the most talented novelists around takes on a historical location of great interest to me: the small island of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, which for two centuries was the only point of contact between Japan and the Western world. Through this small keyhole, an intense civilizational dialogue was conducted, so that isolated Japan knew more about the West than did any other contemporary non-western society (China, India, the Islamic world). A terrific read. - Tom Ginsburg

The main story concerns the final years of the Dutch East India Company as reflected in the fate of its trading center on an island off Nagasaki in 1799 and 1800, just as the events chronicled in War and Peace were beginning. But it’s also a suspenseful adventure tale, an examination of interactions between European and Japanese traders and officials, and a love story. I still have a few chapters to go, but a British warship recently hove into view, so I suspect that changes in the commercial, political, and personal landscape are soon to follow. - Alison L. LaCroix

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