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

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
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Feb 08, 11

Read from January 18 to February 08, 2011

Whenever I read the first few pages of a book I am enjoying, I'm often inspired to reach for an encyclopaedia to swot up on the background to the novel's events. So it was with this latest David Mitchell novel - the Dutch trading post of Dejima is one of the true curiosities of the history of international trade and an inspired choice for the staging of a narrative.

Mitchell's internationalism is again evident as he swaps between the Napoleonic era concerns of an isolated Japan and a declining United Provinces. The characters are vivid even if the hero and heroine tend toward the bland at times - de Zoet is portrayed as a devout Christian forced to hide his true beliefs - so I guess that's one back mark against him at least.

After Black Swan Green received only muted acclaim in comparison to his first three novels, this is a fine return to form for the Worcestershire man.
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Grace I'm reading that next!


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