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Group Book Discussion > (Oct - Nov 2010) The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

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message 1: by Lisa (new)


message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie My library has this available on ebook with no wait! Guess what is going on my nook as soon as I finish one of the other books I am reading?!?!


message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I am having a really difficult time getting into this story. Has anyone read it yet? Is anyone reading it right now?


message 4: by LynnB (new)

LynnB I'm only part way through the book, but I'm liking it so far. I'm assuming that the author did a lot of historical research on the era as he describes so much of life there. I think it's very interesting.


message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I think I will like this one, but now is not the time for me. I am going to put it away and come back to it later.


message 6: by LynnB (new)

LynnB I enjoyed the story of Jacob de Zoet, a clerk with the Dutch East Indies Company in about 1800. Well-researched fiction. The first few chapters were a bit slow and confusing as I started the book, but then it got interesting and I really enjoyed it.


message 7: by Barb (new)

Barb | 75 comments Glad to know it gets better, I feel like I am slogging through the mud with the first chapters.


message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments My number just came up at the library, and I downloaded the ebook today. I may not finish before the end of the month.


message 9: by JenniferD (last edited Nov 27, 2010 02:02PM) (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) I read this novel back in September (I think it was...sometimes it's hard to recall!! LOL). I don't want to spoil it for those still reading but I would agree with your feelings, Lynn and Barb. I really appreciate all of this history and research Mitchell did for this novel, but parts of the story, particularly in the first half of the novel, were so slow going I felt bogged down by information and thought, sometimes, it was very, very dry. I did feel there was some missed opportunities in editing that could have made the story much more evocative and compelling from the get-go. Once the action moves away from the docks, it get really good. I will keep checking back to see where you all are at with the read, so we can exchange more thoughts!


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments I finished this a couple of weeks ago, but have been slow to write my review. Here goes.....

The story moved slowly for me at first as I tried to digest all the foreign characters and names, but I eventually didn't want to put it down. Jacob is an unlikely hero, yet I found myself won over by his sincerity and honesty in an alien world populated by greed, underhanded dealings, corruption, and religious intolerance. He is drawn into local politics and an historical mystery after a chance encounter with Orito, a midwife, who he becomes fascinated with.

Mitchell has written a grand epic novel with wonderful characterizations, clever dialogue, and a propelling plot. His detailed descriptions set the scene in this remote outpost of the Dutch East Indies Company, but sometimes the details bogged me down. I was afraid I was going to overlook something, because the novel was so complex and filled with innuendo. I loved the development of Jacob, the mysticism surrounding the monastery, the contrast of eastern and western POV's, and Mitchell's handling of languages. An impressive adventure!


message 11: by Barb (new)

Barb | 75 comments I did end up liking this one. I now understand why the author felt compelled to give us all that background info, but it did make for a slow start. If you are reading it, hang in there.


message 12: by Teresa (last edited May 23, 2013 06:12AM) (new)

Teresa This was a book club selection so I bought it & finished it on my vacation with uninterrupted reading time. It is not my usual genre (historical fiction) or type of book I would select to read on my own, but I really enjoyed it giving it 4 stars. The time period is the early 1800's and the story is about a small Dutch trading post in Japan. Interesting selection and told from both various richly drawn character viewpoints.

I have since read 2 other David Mitchell books - "Black Swan Green" and "Cloud Atlas." I gave both of those 5 stars and just bought "Ghostwritten" at a used book store. I'm definitely a fan of this author.

(Tom Hanks was miscast in the movie version of Cloud Atlas!)


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