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

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
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's review
Oct 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, japan, netherlands, 18th-century, romance, adventure
Read from February 04 to 12, 2012 — I own a copy

Mitchell’s historical novel tells the story of Jacob de Zoet, a young Calvinist Dutch clerk who signs on with the East India Trading Company to earn enough money to satisfy his fiancée’s father back in Holland. He is assigned to Dejima, a small Dutch trading post at the edge of Nagasaki, Japan, where he falls in love with a disfigured Japanese midwife. At this time in history (the end of the 18th century) Japan is closed off from the world—they will not abide foreign influence or Christian religion in their largely Shinto country.

Thus begins a complex adventure of cultures clashing, revelations of abhorrent evil, innocence, corruption, romance, cruelty and heroic bravery. Mitchell’s insight into his characters is masterful as he reveals their motivations by brief synopsis of their past lives. It’s a haunting novel that won’t let go of you so don’t give up on it as it takes a while to get into. Mitchell has a creative mind like none other.
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message 1: by Rena (new) - rated it 1 star

Rena Jane Wow, Nancy. I wondered what you'd say about this one. Can't say I would be that kind. I had an awful time getting into it. I'm about 150 pages from the end, and I still don't care for it. I have trouble keeping the Dutch characters, and some of the Japanese characters straight, their names are so alike. And many of them, I just don't care about.

Hope things are going well for you.

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