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

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
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Jan 30, 12

bookshelves: from-library
Read from January 29 to 30, 2012

You are probably familiar with those *masterpieces* of modern literature that are pretty unreadable (VS Naipaul I'm looking straight at you) - the intimation is that it is YOUR fault NOT that of the masterpiece. Well, I'm happy to report that David Mitchell's work, whilst containing literary allusions, beautiful prose and depth of meaning, is definitely extremely readable and probably therefore doesn't count as literature according to some tenets. Indeed I can picture Naipaul sneering about Mitchell's choice of subject - "a banal cross cultural love affair - too feminine a subject", "the experience of the Dutch in early modern Japan - yet another example of white colonial arrogance".

It didn't completely work for me - the main female character doesn't get enough screen time here, and I would have liked more focus on events following the death of the main baddie - but it is a compelling read set in a fascinating period of history and place and has inspired me to learn more about Japan and also to reread Cloud Atlas.
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