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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
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Buddy Reads > The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Angus, Bennard, Mae, Monique). Start Date: September 24

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message 1: by Angus (last edited Sep 20, 2012 07:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments From the website:

In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the most influential novelists in the world. He has twice been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The New York Times Book Review called him simply “a genius.” Now David Mitchell lends fresh credence to The Guardian’s claim that “each of his books seems entirely different from that which preceded it.” The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a stunning departure for this brilliant, restless, and wildly ambitious author, a giant leap forward by even his own high standards. A bold and epic novel of a rarely visited point in history, it is a work as exquisitely rendered as it is irresistibly readable.

The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland.

But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”

A magnificent mix of luminous writing, prodigious research, and heedless imagination, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the most impressive achievement of its eminent author.

* * * * *

Hi buddies, below is the reading plan. Each day has an average of 50 pages.

Day 01: I - IV
Day 02: V - VII
Day 03: VIII - X
Day 04: XI - XII
Day 05: XIV - XVII
Day 06: XVIII - XXI
Day 07: XXII - XXVI
Day 08: XXVII - XXX
Day 09: XXXI - XXXIV
Day 10: XXXV - XXXVII
Day 11: XXXVIII - XLI and Appendices

Everyone, please join us! :)


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Yay, thread is up na pala!

*copies reading plan* Excited to buddy read Mitchell again! :)


message 3: by Alexa (last edited Sep 20, 2012 07:26PM) (new)

Alexa (codenameblue) | 935 comments Angus wrote: "Each day has an average of 50 days"

Pages?

(Hi guys! Just thread-hopping/lurking, hehe. You can go on with your lives now.)


Bennard | 730 comments Yey! Color me excited.:)


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Alexa: Hahaha! Inedit ko na. :D


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Angus wrote: "Alexa: Hahaha! Inedit ko na. :D"

Haha! Di ko yun napansin ah. I zeroed in on the chapters per day. :D


message 7: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Yay! This is going to be my final Mitchell! (Well, at least until he writes another novel.) Kayo din diba, Angus and Atty. Monique? Yay, exciting! *high five* :D


Bennard | 730 comments Mae wrote: "Yay! This is going to be my final Mitchell! (Well, at least until he writes another novel.) Kayo din diba, Angus and Atty. Monique? Yay, exciting! *high five* :D"

This is my first.:D


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Yep! Last novel na. I think this will not disappoint us. I've heard a lot of good things about it. :)


Aldrin (fullybooked) | 223 comments This was my first Mitchell, which, obviously, did not disappoint.


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Yes, last novel. Sabay-sabay pala tayong tatlo to complete Mitchell's works. ;)


message 12: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Day 01: I - IV

I didn't really look into what this book was about, nor did I read any reviews before I started reading it so I was somewhat surprised to find out that this novel is straightforward rather than the disjointed style I encountered in Mitchell's previous books. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this will turn out.

That opening chapter most certainly captured my attention. Heh. I certainly felt the gravity and urgency of the situation, though I wonder why Mitchell chose to open with this. I reckon we'll find out as we read on. The subsequent chapters introduce us to Jacob de Zoet as he begins his stint as a clerk in Dejima. I don't have much to say yet kasi bitin yung 1st four chapters, though I did catch a glimpse of Jacob's motivation on why he took on the job.

Aside from brief references and occasional themes featured in certain video games, I have very little knowledge on Japan's Edo period and the foreign relations policies and trade practices that occurred during this era. But Mitchell paints a pretty clear picture in these first chapters so I didn't get lost at all. I understand that there was a policy of isolation during that period and I think it'll be interesting to see Jacob's story play out within those constraints.


Bennard | 730 comments Day 1: I-IV

I was surprised by the straightforward nature of the book. I always thought, because of the comments about Cloud Atlas, that De Zoet would be as experimental as Mitchell's other works.

However, I really liked what I read so far. The writing, especially the descriptions, are beautiful; The characters are unique; and the 1st chapter is one of the most intense chapters that I've read in recent memory.


message 14: by Aldrin (last edited Sep 24, 2012 07:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Aldrin (fullybooked) | 223 comments May I please drop some eaves? :p

Mae wrote: "I certainly felt the gravity and urgency of the situation, though I wonder why Mitchell chose to open with this. I reckon we'll find out as we read on."

You most certainly will. Hihi.

Bennard wrote: "I was surprised by the straightforward nature of the book. I always thought, because of the comments about Cloud Atlas, that De Zoet would be as experimental as Mitchell's other works."

This is indeed his most straightforwardly structured novel. One can argue that Black Swan Green is, but I like to think that Black Swan Green is more like a short story collection than a straightforward novel.


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Day 1: I-IV

Do I need to say anything more about the first chapter? That is so vivid and almost grisly. It's horrifying enough trying to picture the description, and when you flip to page 6, @_@.

So the novel started with life and death. A recurring theme, eh? For us Mitchell finishers (sorry Bennard, hehe), we'd be on the lookout for any recurring characters, although I think there would only be a few since this is set at the end of the 18th century.

I am a little confused with the Japanese and Dutch names. They just don't register. Heh. Good thing that the events stick to me. Also, this reminds me a bit of Sloosha's Crossin' (for Bennard's sake, it's a chapter in Cloud Atlas). It's the local dialogue and the 's and "s. Medyo nakakahilo ha!

But having experienced four Mitchell novels, these are all worth plodding through.


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments *posting before reading your thoughts, buddies*

Day 1: I-IV

There are three things that are clear to me in these parts:

(1) Jacob de Zoet is a Dutch clerk. He transcribes missives, resolutions, and other documentation for the Dutch authorities.
(2) The first part about the labor and delivery of Kawasemi's child was WHOA. I am a mother, and I know how difficult it is to go into labor, but I'll be damned if I will allow a hand and an ARM inside me like that. O_O
(3) I hate the friggin' names! Dutch and Japanese alike!

And finally. I don't know what a Psalter is, so I looked it up: according to Wikipedia, it is a volume containing the Book of Psalms. I wonder what happened when De Zoet's stuff was inspected, and the interpreter didn't see his Psalter?

I am yet to see the gorgeous writing that Aldrin spoke about, but hey, it's only the first four parts. And it IS a thick book, so I'll just look forward to more.

And yay for me for making it before Day 1 is over! Hee. :D


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Day 02: V - VII

'So finally, I discovered,' and I say this with a triumphant snicker, 'what's making this a bit hard for me to "read."'

I reread the sentence above.

It looks error-free.

Of course, I cannot ever imitate the Mitchell's writing.

'It is imperative,' I resume my thoughts, 'that I know the root of the problem so that I can pull it out.'

Enough. It is just now that I really got used to the prose. It certainly makes the reading easier when you can somehow predict when and where the punctuation marks will appear (or when the dialogue will break). I now know some of the the characters by heart, haha.

Some of my favorites are Dr. Marinus, the doctor who has an ear for baroque music (my vengeance shall be Biblical!) and Ogawa, the interpreter. The former reminds me of that character in Brideshead Revisited (Anthony?) for his pompous sarcasm. I love it!


Aldrin (fullybooked) | 223 comments I loved Mitchell's intervening phrases, too. (Masabi lang. Haha.)


message 19: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Day 02: V - VII

Keeping track of the characters is proving to be quite a challenge for me. I think I need to make some sort of character cheat sheet. I know all the major ones by now, but the rest are still getting all mixed up in my head.

That aside, I do love the writing. It's very descriptive - although, I have to say, I could do with a tad less description when it comes to certain medical procedures. :P Also, I enjoyed the humor in these last three chapters. Thieving monkeys and awkward translations and surprise enemas, oh my! :))


Bennard | 730 comments Day 02: V-VII

I am loving Mitchell's writing style. It is full of wit and descriptive power. The dialogue is very humorous and it reminds me somewhat of Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation.

The characters and their names tend to confuse me though. But I do know the major players by heart already. My favorite character, as of now, is Dr. Marinus. He is very pompous and funny in a sort of grumpy old man kind of way.

All in all, a very fascinating and interesting read.:D


message 21: by Monique (last edited Sep 25, 2012 06:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Day 02: V - VII

Okay. That smoke-glister. When I was first introduced to it, I was eeewww. And then, and then! Poor Jacob, aka Dezuto. It totally cracked me up! I was reading this late last night, while Allie and Archie were already fast asleep, so you could imagine how I had to stifle my chuckles. :D

This one had me (silently) laughing, as well: 'Cupido and Philander strike up "Seven White Roses For My One True Love."'

I am loving the humor. I can't remember Mitchell being this hilarious in his other books, so I very much welcome the comic relief. Especially since, for some reason, the characters' names seem to have been suggested to Mitchell by a two-year-old. What kind of names are these?? Either Mitchell made fun of them, conjuring them up from thin air, or Dutch names are really that weird.

At least, I am getting a clearer picture of the entire setting. Jacob is a Dutch clerk/bookkeeper/auditor, hired for the purpose of checking whether the bulk sales of goods are in order - it seems that a lot of stealing and misappropriation are going on from among the ranks. Just one thing, though: where did he get the loads of mercury?

I know that Mitchell is just cooking up something - laying the predicate, as we call it in the profession - and that even if the novel doesn't make much sense now, it will soon. And I have enough patience where Mitchell is concerned. Heee.

At na-love at first sight ba si Jacob kay Miss Aibagawa? Wehehe.


message 22: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Day 03: VIII - X

Back-to-back-to-back backstories! They way Mitchell wrote them in these last three chapters, I found it very easy to predict that one is forthcoming. I didn't mind that much as they were quite fascinating, and now I'll be able to easily fish out those characters from the Japanese/Dutch jumble in my head the next time I encounter their names.

Marinus is growing on me. I'd hate to be Jacob de Zoet, though. Talk about an exercise in futility! Pero in fairness kay Kuya Jacob, may energy pa siya na makipaglandian. :))


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Day 03: VIII - X

These chapters demonstrate Jacob's intelligence and education: he caught Interpreter Kobayashi deliberately mistranslating a Shogunal (?) missive, as well as Arie Grote cheating in their game of cards. Our protagonist would appear to be very intuitive in those instances, but he wasn't exactly quick on the uptake when Kobayashi staged a burglary in his house and left out clues in the context of translations.

I am beginning to think that there are actually two stories here: a thriller-type, intrigue-filled, and political story regarding the Dutch trading business in Dejima, and a love story involving Jacob and Aibagawa. It's too early for this conclusion I know, and knowing how Mitchell tends to surprise in the end, I wouldn't discount the fact that I am completely wrong.

And the humor! I love the little bits of witty lines, especially the exchanges between the characters. I am still a bit confused with the characters' names, but I know eventually I will know who's who.

BUDDY and MAE: I am loving Dr. Marinus, as well! He's funny and sarcastic, but he also has a heart as soft as marshmallow, as shown by his concern for the beaten-up slave, Sjako.


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Classmates, I'm delayed. Not in the context of menstrual cycles, hahaha! Will double post later. :D


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments BUDDY: It's okay, haha! We all get delayed sometimes. Weh? Haha!


message 26: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments No problem, Angus. I think ako naman ang made-delay today. :))


Bennard | 730 comments Okay lang yan! Life gets in the way sometimes.:D


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments It's not even life, it's my housemate's Rihanna music all over the house! ♫ Shine bright like a diamond ♫


Bennard | 730 comments Day 3: Chapter VIII - X

These chapters presented a lot of back stories for a lot of characters. Baert's back story is the most tragic. He's just going to propose to her loved one and then he wakes up in a ship where he is forced to fight for the French, then to subsequently work for the English after his first ship is destroyed, and then not see her loved one again. On the other hand, Dr. Marinus is lucky because he is taken in by her enlightened aunt which led him to a life of scholarly pursuits. I liked the back stories as they humanized the characters more.

On another note, Domburger is so cheesy. I don't know if I'm going to feel "kilig" or if i'm going to cringe. The Domburger-Aibagawa story line is turning out to be a real joy to read.

The political story line is also a joy to read for completely different reasons. Watching the characters outmaneuver each other and engage is verbal swordplay brings me excitement of sorts.

Buddies: I also like Dr. Marinus. He is very sarcastic and wise. Reading his lines is one of the best moments in the book. Especially when he conned Domburger in working for him.:D


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Angus wrote: "It's not even life, it's my housemate's Rihanna music all over the house! ♫ Shine bright like a diamond ♫"

I love Rihanna! Haha. Maka-segue. :P


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments On another note, Domburger is so cheesy. I don't know if I'm going to feel "kilig" or if i'm going to cringe. The Domburger-Aibagawa story line is turning out to be a real joy to read.

I think Mitchell writes the awesomest and kilig-worthy love stories. :D


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments My character kodigo: clicky! :D


message 33: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Hihi, yan din yung nahanap ko yesterday! Useful sya ha. :)


Bennard | 730 comments Monique wrote: I think Mitchell writes the awesomest and kilig-worthy love stories. :D

Yes, it's the proper mix of sweetness, self-depreciation, and neuroses.:D Reminds me of the characters of Woody Allen.:D


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Day 03: VIII - X

This is why I don't like posting last because it's mostly echoing everyone else's thoughts. But it's enlightening in a way.

If you have the cover of a woman clad in a blue kimono holding a tomato-looking fruit (a persimmon), then I suppose you already know where it's coming from. Or is it from Day 2's reading? Basta!

I was only a bit kilig with the Jacob-Aibagawa landian because I somehow feel for Anna, the woman waiting at the other face of the planet. Sure, she said that it's fine if ever Jacob falls for another woman, but I feel that she is holding on. She'd be like Baert, never to see her loved one again.

And why do I feel for a distant and undeveloped character? Hahaha!


message 36: by Monique (last edited Sep 27, 2012 06:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments If you have the cover of a woman clad in a blue kimono holding a tomato-looking fruit (a persimmon), then I suppose you already know where it's coming from. Or is it from Day 2's reading? Basta!

Oo nga noh? Hahaha! Persimmon pala yun, hindi apple? Sorry naman Buddy, di pa kasi ako nakakakita ng persimmon sa personal. Haha! :D

You feel for Anna kasi... you're fond of sad stories, and hers will be a sad one pag nagkatuluyan sina Jacob and Aibagawa? :D


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Day 04: XI - XII

Well, what to say? That was a nail-biting part-ender! Hay. I knew that Vorstenbosch has some corruption inside him. As the Filipino saying goes, ang magnanakaw, galit sa kapwa magnanakaw.

And Jacob does the unthinkable: tear that summation document, which is tantamount to tearing his own promotion letter. This is why I like Mitchell. He still believes there is good in this rotten humanity. Authors who think and write about these things are bound for the Nobel, hehe. But that's a long shot from now (and he has to write more about history and social issues if he is really gunning for it).

By the way buddies, have you not noticed that there's a list of principal characters at the last pages of the book? At least my edition does (woman holding a persimmon).

Atty: Hindi pa rin ako nakakita ng persimmon, sa Farm Town lang, haha. About Jacob and Aibagawa, sad din naman ang story nila (at this point) because of Aiba's circumstances.


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Day 04: XI - XII

Okay, I am feeling very defensive and agitated on behalf of Jacob right now. Imagine, all the effort he's put into his work, only to find that he was just being used from the very beginning... and being deprived of a position and title he deserves all because he refuses to be privy to a corrupt act?! Vorstenboch's head should be the one rolling.

Goodness, Jacob has proposed marriage! I wonder what it is about Orito he has found so appealing? :)

Nearing the halfway mark, and I'm still waiting for something in this book that will make me go "Oooooh" just like Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten did. I am not denying the fact that I'm a teeny bit disoriented, what with the confusing characters and the seemingly dragging plot, but hey, this is Mitchell. I just have to be patient and see what he has in store for us in the end. :)


BUDDY: I was just about to say that, haha! There IS a list of characters at the last pages. We have the same edition. :) But I printed a kodigo nonetheless, and it works for me. :D


message 39: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Day 04: XI - XIII

These last three chapters were infuriating. Just about everyone there (aside from Jacob) is conniving and corrupted. He's way too earnest and I feel for him, I really do.

Just one thing: What's the deal with the Dejima wives? I'm not sure I quite get the concept. I understand that the only women allowed on Dejima are ere whores and wives, but I get the feeling those wives are just glorified whores. Or are they legally married ba talaga? Anyway...

Just like that, we've finished the first of three parts. It took a while for me to warm up to it, but then I suppose Mitchell needed to take the time to fully establish the setting. You can tell he's done a lot of research. The last few chapters really turned up the heat, though. Humor, intrigue, even a bit of romance - Michell really is a brilliant storyteller.


Bennard | 730 comments Sorry for the late post, buddies!:)

Day 04: XI - XIII

Poor Domburger. The only righteous man in a land of corrupted by greed. I felt for his troubles and for his dilemma. I hated Vortensbosch, van Cleef, and Fischer and I hated that they are being rewarded for their corrupt ways while Domburger is punished. Add the fact that he saw Aibagawa, who looks disheveled, being forbidden to enter the gate and he can't do anything about it. It really makes me sympathize for him.

Mitchell skillfully weaves a battle between good and evil in a way that feels real and not contrived. I am really liking it so far. Unlike you guys, who have read Mitchell's other works, I instantly warmed up to this. Probably because this is my first Mitchell so I am already wowed. I wonder what will my reaction be to Cloud Atlas.:D

All in all, I say that this is turning out to be a really good read. Mitchell upped the ante on the last chapter. It seems that a storm is brewing over Dejima and Domburger is in the middle of it. I am excited for what's about to come next.

Mae: Yes, Dejima wives are glorified whores. Whereas whores just spends a day or two over at your house, the wives can stay indefinitely, I think.


message 41: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Day 05: XIV - XVII

We've entered darker territory now. I have to say, I find the House of Sister arc more haunting and disturbing than the gory birth in the first chapter. Poor Orito! There's this part that I really liked, though. The one where she started "conversing" with the heron and the cat (a hallucination/side-effect of the Solace?) was dark yet beautiful. Even in her drugged state, her wits are still intact.

I appreciated the brief focus on Ogawa. I didn't really give him much thought before but since Mitchell gave him a backstory, I reckon he'll be doing something important sooner or later. (I'm on to you now, Mr. Mitchell. Hehe.)

This is a huge novel, and certainly a busy one. We're jumping from one story arc to another almost every chapter. At times it feels waaay too busy, but maybe it's too soon to judge. I like it, though. I think that just like his other novels, this will all make sense in the end. Haha! :))


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Waaah! I haven't read anything because of the livestream testing that we did. But, tomorrow is Saturday! Yahoo!!!


message 43: by Angus (last edited Sep 30, 2012 04:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Day 05: XIV - XVII

Eek! What kind of Shrine is that? A Holy Brothel? It feels very disconcerting summoning an image of nuns receiving "gifts" from the masters and acolytes (are these monks or something?).

Yayoi, one of the Sisters, has her story to give us a different perspective of the shrine and its monthly act of Engiftment. The shrine is indeed better if one is from a sleazy prostitution den. Life cannot be wasted for the likes of Yayoi. But how about for Orito?

Orito's past with Ogawa surprised me. I didn't see that coming. So that is why he's so inquisitive regarding the dictionary gift that Jacob requested him to deliver to her. I guess I should have been more vigilant, for why would Mitchell spend a lot of time writing scenes with Ogawa in it?

Where does the mercury that Enomoto purchased from Jacob fit into this? Is it mixed with the Solace?


Bennard | 730 comments Day 05: XIV - VVII

Wow, things got dark quick. A change of setting from a sociopolitical look into the culture clash between Japan and Netherlands to a mystery/horror type setting in the nunnery where Orito is imprisoned. Uber-creepy.

The act of engiftment gives me the chills. How can a holy shrine be like this? It's true that. for deformed women without a future, the shrine is a better place than a brothel. But there is still something wrong with it and Orito does not deserve to live in a place like this. No one deserves it.

Ogawa and Orito's back story surprised me. Now there's a reason why Ogawa seemed cold at Domburger during the scene where Domburger asked Ogawa to deliver the dictionary. Looks like we have a love triangle here. The plot thickens.

This is really a big book with multiple stories and a busy narrative. I hope Mitchell can tie it up in the end. Judging from your reviews of his books, it looks like that he can do it.


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Day 05: XIV - XVII

How sinister and gross can Enomoto's Shrine be? Poor Aibagawa! [Oh hey, look, there's nothing more I can say that you guys haven't said yet, so I will stop here and just state, I concur. :D]

What I will comment on, however, is the general plot of the novel. As I mentioned to Mae via Twitter, the main problem I have with reading de Zoet is that it doesn't just grip me the way Mitchell's four other novels have. For some reason, it doesn't hold my attention for long, coupled by the initially confusing characters' names. At least, that little problem has an immediate solution. But insofar as the plot goes...

But I trust that Mitchell will STILL deliver. Yun lang talaga, I can't keep up with the pace we've set - I mean, I can, but I have to force myself to - unlike, say, in Ghostwritten, when I was tempted to continue on to the next chapters even if it would violate the reading plan. Pero we'll see. I know Mitchell will not disappoint me. Love ako nyan eh. Hahaha!

On a side note: Bennard, I'm amused that you keep referring to Jacob as Domburger! Ikaw na si Marinus, hahaha!


Bennard | 730 comments @Monique: I like the nickname eh. Hahaha. Parang ang funny lang kasi habang iniimagine ko si Marinus na tinatawag si Jacob as Domburger.:D


Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments I imagine a dumb hamburger. (And how can hamburgers be dumb?)


Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments *bristling a la Marinus*

"OI! DOMBURGER!"

Parang Bah, humbug! ang tunog sakin. Haha!


message 49: by Monique (last edited Oct 01, 2012 01:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments Day 06: XVIII - XXI

FINALLY.

This is what I've been waiting for. Three hundred pages in, and I am so glad that I'm finally in the groove. These chapters have got to be the most thrilling and engaging parts of the book - by far - and De Zoet doesn't even play a key part.

So with the help of the Herbalist of Kurozane and the acolyte who escaped the Shrine, Juritsu, the horrendous secrets of the Shrine of Shiranui are finally revealed. I know that all of us are thinking that there's something terribly dark and sinister about the Shrine, but I didn't even realize that it was as terrible as what had been revealed. Innocent lives wasted! And the worst part is, that the Shrine is supposedly run by these Japanese authorities under their Goddess. They even go so far as to write the deceptive New Year letters, just so the Sisters would be content and satisfied that their Gifts have become successful and happy.

But to what end?

Just as we feared, Uzaemon didn't give the Dictionary to Aibagawa. Possessive?

The first part, by the way, about lithotomy cracked me up. And then the story would suddenly shift to the terror and abominations in the Shrine... Ah, this is why I love Mitchell! :)

By the way, just in case you guys were wondering what a fumi-e is:

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I love the historical aspect of this book, by the way. For more info on fumi-e, clicky!


message 50: by Mae (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mae (jamaeca) | 330 comments Day 06: XVIII - XXI

So the House of Sisters is even more horrible than I thought. I did not see that coming. And I really liked that reveal about the "extinguishing" was not over the top. It was understated (via the thoughts of Ogawa Uzaemon) which made it more shocking for me. I had to backtrack and read the part again because I almost didn't believe what I just read. Bad, bad Enomoto.

Part II is really turning out great. The pacing is better, and the dark and sinister feel is more intriguing. I was seriously holding my breath while reading the part about Aibagawa's escape.

And hey, we were given another helping of gross archaic medical procedures, although this time it made me laugh more than it made me cringe. Hehe.

Thanks for the info on fumi-e, Atty. Monique! :)


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