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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
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About the Author

David Mitchell's first novel, GHOSTWRITTEN, was awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, NUMBER9DREAM, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In 2003, his third novel, CLOUD ATLAS, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize and won the British Book Awards Best Literary Fiction and South Bank Show Literature Prize. His previous novel, BLACK SWAN GREEN, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award.

Reviews

'Compared with almost everything being written now, it is vertiginously ambitious - and brilliant' -- The Times 'Dazzles with its density and intensity, its ambition and grandeur.' -- Courier Mail 'Mitchell is a master of pace and suspense; sudden reversals of fortune, shocking revelations and moments of bawdy comedy or ragged horror are delivered with a brio worthy of Dickens...It's a fluent and daring novel.' -- Age 'Spectacularly accomplished and thrillingly suspenseful' -- Sunday Times 'Unquestionably a marvel - entirely original among contemporary British novels, revealing its author as, surely, the most impressive fictional mind of his generation' -- Observer 'Arguably his finest...It will doubtless earn Mitchell his fourth Man Booker nomination and, if there's any justice, his first win.' -- Sunday Telegraph 'A world of stories in prose that brings a lump to the throat...David Mitchell has done it again.' -- Independent on Sunday 'Ambitious and fascinating...Comparisons to Tolstoy are inevitable, and right on the money.' -- Kirkus Reviews 'However densely charted and richly sketched, this sumptuous imbroglio never drags...Mitchell flexes his prose virtuosity. More than before, those muscles do the heart's work.' -- Independent 'Hugely enjoyable...the descriptions of Dejima and what life there must have been like are extraordinarily accurate' -- Literary Review 'David Mitchell is back with a bang...superb' -- Irish Independent 'A masterpiece' -- Scotsman 'For a tour de force, it's surprisingly nimble, emotionally complex and simply unforgettable.' -- Scotland on Sunday

Mitchell's rightly been hailed as a virtuoso genius for his genre-bending, fiercely intelligent novels Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas . Now he takes something of a busman's holiday with this majestic historical romance set in turn-of-the-19th-century Japan, where young, naïve Jacob de Zoet arrives on the small manmade island of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor as part of a contingent of Dutch East Indies officials charged with cleaning up the trading station's entrenched culture of corruption. Though engaged to be married in the Netherlands, he quickly falls in hopeless love with Orito Aibagawa, a Dutch-trained Japanese midwife and promising student of Marinus, the station's resident physician. Their "courtship" is strained, as foreigners are prohibited from setting foot on the Japanese mainland, and the only relationships permitted between Japanese women and foreign men on Dejima are of the paid variety. Jacob has larger trouble, though; when he refuses to sign off on a bogus shipping manifest, his stint on Dejima is extended and he's demoted, stuck in the service of a vengeful fellow clerk. Meanwhile, Orito's father dies deeply in debt, and her stepmother sells her into service at a mountaintop shrine where her midwife skills are in high demand, she soon learns, because of the extraordinarily sinister rituals going on in the secretive shrine. This is where the slow-to-start plot kicks in, and Mitchell pours on the heat with a rescue attempt by Orito's first love, Uzaemon, who happens to be Jacob's translator and confidant. Mitchell's ventriloquism is as sharp as ever; he conjures men of Eastern and Western science as convincingly as he does the unscrubbed sailor rabble. Though there are more than a few spots of embarrassingly bad writing ("How scandalized Nagasaki shall be, thinks Uzaemon, if the truth is ever known"), Mitchell's talent still shines through, particularly in the novel¿s riveting final act, a pressure-cooker of tension, character work, and gorgeous set pieces. It's certainly no Cloud Atlas , but it is a dense and satisfying historical with literary brawn and stylistic panache. (July ) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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