The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

By David Mitchell
(Random House, Hardcover, 9781400065455, 496pp.)

Publication Date: June 29, 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Paperback, Paperback, Hardcover, Paperback, Paperback

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer '11 Reading Group List
“Honest, forthright Jacob de Zoet, the nephew of a Dutch preacher, journeys to the Nagasaki of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, at the peak of Dutch trade with Japan. Through his eyes, we see this absorbing tale of the clash of cultures, replete with political machinations, plots within plots, graft and corruption, unrequited love, and the struggle of the 'good' to persevere throughout it all. A thoroughly satisfying read!”
-- Lynne Almeida, Spellbinder Books & Coffee Bar, Bishop, CA
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2010 Indie Next List


Description

By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

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.

Praise for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
 
“A page-turner . . . [David] Mitchell’s masterpiece; and also, I am convinced, a masterpiece of our time.”—Richard Eder, The Boston Globe
 
“An achingly romantic story of forbidden love . . . Mitchell’s incredible prose is on stunning display. . . . A novel of ideas, of longing, of good and evil and those who fall somewhere in between [that] confirms Mitchell as one of the more fascinating and fearless writers alive.”—Dave Eggers, The New York Times Book Review
 
“The novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction has published a classic, old-fashioned tale . . . an epic of sacrificial love, clashing civilizations and enemies who won’t rest until whole family lines have been snuffed out.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
 
“By any standards, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a formidable marvel.”—James Wood, The New Yorker
 
“A beautiful novel, full of life and authenticity, atmosphere and characters that breathe.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR




About the Author

David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Bone Clocks, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell translated from the Japanese the internationally bestselling memoir The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.




NPR
Friday, Apr 1, 2011

Post-modern writer David Mitchell pulls off an old-fashioned yet action-packed tale in his fifth novel, The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob de Zoet. The story follows Jacob, a bookkeeper at an outpost of the Dutch East Indies Company, as he falls for a local midwife in early 19th century Japan. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Saturday, Aug 21, 2010

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a complex, historical novel set on a Dutch trading post in late 18th century Japan. Author David Mitchell explains the extensive research that went into re-creating a bygone era. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Thursday, Aug 5, 2010

Post-modern writer David Mitchell pulls off an old-fashioned yet action-packed tale in his fifth novel, The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob de Zoet. The story follows Jacob, a bookkeeper at an outpost of the Dutch East Indies Company, as he falls for a local midwife in early 19th century Japan. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

NPR
Wednesday, Jul 7, 2010

Post-modern wunderkind David Mitchell pulls off an old-fashioned yet action-packed tale in The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob de Zoet, a novel set in early 19th-century Japan. The story follows Jacob, a bookkeeper at an outpost of the Dutch East Indies Co., as he falls for a local midwife. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.




Praise For The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

“A page-turner . . . [David] Mitchell’s masterpiece; and also, I am convinced, a masterpiece of our time.”—Richard Eder, The Boston Globe
 
“An achingly romantic story of forbidden love . . . Mitchell’s incredible prose is on stunning display. . . . A novel of ideas, of longing, of good and evil and those who fall somewhere in between [that] confirms Mitchell as one of the more fascinating and fearless writers alive.”—Dave Eggers, The New York Times Book Review
 
“The novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction has published a classic, old-fashioned tale . . . an epic of sacrificial love, clashing civilizations and enemies who won’t rest until whole family lines have been snuffed out.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
 
“By any standards, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a formidable marvel.”—James Wood, The New Yorker
 
“A beautiful novel, full of life and authenticity, atmosphere and characters that breathe.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR

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