Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet
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 fianc e 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
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Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial and Commonwealth Writers' Prizes
Shortlisted for Galaxy National Book Awards: Waterstone's UK Author of the Year 2010.
'Compared with almost everything being written now, it is vertiginously ambitious -- and brilliant' -- The Times '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 'A world of stories in prose that brings a lump to the throat...David Mitchell has done it again.' -- Independent on Sunday 'Arguably his finest...It will doubtless earn Mitchell his fourth Man Booker nomination and, if there's any justice, his first win.' -- Sunday Telegraph '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 'Ambitious and fascinating...Comparisons to Tolstoy are inevitable, and right on the money.' -- Kirkus Reviews 'Confirms Mitchell as one of the more fascinating and fearless writers alive' -- Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review
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.