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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet [Kindle Edition]

David Mitchell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller, from the author of CLOUD ATLAS and THE BONE CLOCKS.



Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010



Be transported to a place like no other: a tiny, man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki, for two hundred years the sole gateway between Japan and the West. Here, in the dying days of the 18th-century, a young Dutch clerk arrives to make his fortune. Instead he loses his heart.



Step onto the streets of Dejima and mingle with scheming traders, spies, interpreters, servants and concubines as two cultures converge. In a tale of integrity and corruption, passion and power, the key is control - of riches and minds, and over death itself.


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Review

I'm awed by Jonathan Aris's seemingly limitless collection of hybrid east/west accents. --The Guardian (audiobook review)

...too relentless in the short version, it's more rewarding unabridged. --The Observer (audiobook review)

Review

'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 )

'spectacularly accomplished and thrillingly suspenseful...a narrative of panoramic span. Mitchell fills his pages with a medley of accents, idioms and speech habits. Prodigiously researched, his book resurrects a place and period with riveting immediacy. ...it brims with rich, involving and affecting humanity' (Peter Kemp, Sunday Times )

"My favourite new novel of the year, by a very long way . . . People will still be marvelling at THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET decades after last year's award winners have been forgotten." (Gary Dalkin, Vector, Books of the Year )

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1745 KB
  • Print Length: 481 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (13 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003MVZP3Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,149 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial and South Bank Show Literature prizes and the Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well. David Mitchell's sixth novel is The Bone Clocks (Sceptre, September 2014).

He now lives in Ireland with his wife and their two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
442 of 471 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some gentle advice imparted through bitter experience, don't ever read an introductory chapter of a book on Amazon before it is published. I opened the PDF for the first chapter on David Mitchell's monumental new book "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet" some two weeks ago and have wished my life away ever since waiting for its full publication. A warning in addition the first chapter based on the birth of a child is quite graphic but it drags you into this complex, beautiful, intriguing, funny and brilliantly written work from the author of that masterful Russian Doll of a novel "Cloud Atlas" and possibly the finest young British writer of recent years.

The story is set on the man made Island of Dejima a remarkable place built by the Japanese in Nagasaki Bay in the 17th century as a small and heavily restricted "point of entry" into the country for Western foreign merchants. This enclave was a conduit between the thrusting mercantile empire of the Dutch (the origins of which are so brilliantly captured in Simon Schama's "The Embarrassment of Riches") and the traditional, secretive society of Japan with its doctrine of Sakoku ("closed country"). An isolation intended by the Shogunate's to create uniquely homogeneous culture which still has resonance today.

The book centres on a range of very strong characters (I particularly enjoyed the "old sage" of a physician Dr Marinus) but obviously the main protagonist is Jacob De Zoet a Dutch clerk arriving for a five year posting to work for the East India Company. Young De Zoet is a rather pious and anxious individual dedicated to his work and his love of the psalms coupled with a desire to make money and return to Holland to wed a future bride.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for the superb ending 4 Jan. 2012
Format:Paperback
I had planned to give this novel four stars; it is finely written and observed, but a little too enamoured of its historical setting for its own good. Mitchell sets his story in Dejima, a man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki, used as a trading gateway between the 17th and 19th centuries. For 200 pages the action hardly escapes its tiny boundaries. We see events largely through the eyes of young Jacob de Zoet, a young and somewhat gauche Dutch clerk, who has just arrived on Dejima. So, as de Zoet discovers the workings of Dejima, so do we. Unfortunately, any action is lightly spread, and it can be a slow read - a pity David Mitchell's editor didn't cut 50 pages or so.

Both the second and third parts of the book are shorter and faster paced. The action moves off Dejima, to a shrine on Mount Shiranui, and later to a British ship approaching Nagasaki, and the book seems to open out. Other characters, less of a blank canvas than de Zoet, come to the fore, in particular Aibagawa, a midwife, and Enomoto, the Lord Abbot and the real villain of the piece.

However, it is for the ending that I changed my mind and decided to give this book five stars after all. Not only is the action gripping, but the final few pages are some of the moving I have ever read. Unbearably sad and poignant, they speak of love and loss, and what a life means. Extraordinary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Burner 13 Oct. 2011
By robotfish TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I'd read Mr Mitchell's previous novels in reverse chronological order, and whilst the dizzying exciting prose of number9dream, Cloud Atlas amd Ghostwritten had me compulsively devouring every word I found Black Swan Green to disappointingly linear. Well written, but without the leaps of imagination found in the other three.

As I progressed through this one, and it became apparent that this too was a tale told with a traditional timeline, I was initially disappointed. The quality of the writing soon, however, transported me to the late 1700s to a strange island and a curious clash of cultures. The momentum built up in the novel is very impressive and the last 100 pages or so will take your breath away. I'm quite sad now to have finished it.

4 stars? Well, I think the book gives up all it's secrets in one reading. Quite unlike Ghostwritten (which I reread as soon as I'd finished it). There is a touch, a hint of another magical world (with Enomoto) but it is not explored deeply - you are just required to accept it. I may come back to it again, but I don't feel I have to.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great 5 Jun. 2011
By Oracle VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a patchy novel, shifting between the tedious and the inspired. I'm not surprised to see that several readers gave up during the first third of the book as this is by far the weakest part. It's little more than a series of anecdotes and overwrought scene setting and you need some patience to get through it.

However, the book really picks up in the middle section, when Aibagawa Orito takes over from Jacob as the central character, and the ending is also strong. The problem is by the time you reach it there's just been too much meandering and you can't help but feel that Orito would have been a far more interesting character to focus on than Jacob.

The novel is almost like a draft of a much better book that needed a thorough revision by the author before reaching the shelves. It didn't stay with me and a couple of weeks after finishing it, it certainly hasn't stuck in my mind.

Should it have made the Booker shortlist? It's a better novel than some that did, but it certainly isn't the classic that Cloud Atlas was. It's a good read about the era, but ultimately I much preferred Alessandro Baricco's magical Silk on a similar subject.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A great beginning but...
Maybe it's just me but I cannot find myself caring too much for David Mitchell's characters. This book has a truly great beginning but, to my mind, fizzles out and goes nowhere,
Published 2 months ago by Deep Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Love all his books
Mitchell is an incredible author. Love all his books.
Published 2 months ago by Sophie Balcombe
4.0 out of 5 stars A thousand autumns
This is very different to the other Novels by Mitchell I've read. For a start it was a full on historical novel charting a time that is lesser known in a place long sequestered... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tales of a Librarian
1.0 out of 5 stars I bought this book based on all the good reviews and should have read...
I bought this book based on all the good reviews and should have read those which awarded one star only. They've said it all really. Read more
Published 3 months ago by merielalice
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best novels I've read in years. David Mitchell is truly a genius.
Published 3 months ago by Mike McDowall
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful.
One of his best, maybe THE best
Published 5 months ago by michael martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging - Fascinating - Unusual
Although this book lacks the incredible scope and imagination of Cloud Atlas or the intense personal observation of Black Swan Green, it is definitely a most engaging tale, very... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Reg Roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars worth persevering
I had three attempts before I was able to complete this book. Well worth the effort. Not easy but rewarding.
Published 5 months ago by jimdj
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing story. I came close to throwing in the ...
Wow! What an amazing story. I came close to throwing in the towel at about 50 pages. I just felt like I was herding cats with this book - nothing would quite fit. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John Boy TKD
4.0 out of 5 stars i enjoyed it and so did the book
very interesting story. i enjoyed it and so did the book club
Published 5 months ago by squiggles
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