Sunday, July 18, 2010
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
This is kind of a hot new book right now, and I was intrigued by the reviews on amazon.com. I listened to a free library download, so don't have a good photo. I do see on amazon, however, that there are illustrations inside this book that really add to the character of the hard cover. Beginning in 1799, on a tiny island in Nagasaki Harbor, we meet our main character Jacob (pronounced yak-ob). He seems to be a mid-level clerk in the Dutch navy. Young, red-haired and freckled with green eyes, he's quite the oddity among both the Japanese citizens and the salty older sailors all around him. If you enjoyed the book Shogun by James Clavell back in the 1970's, you will probably like this one too. To me, it's a shorter, lighter version of that theme, complete with the evil Lord, the lovely young Japanese midwife, and a cast of other characters. It's really a fun armchair adventure, with colorful observations of the time, and a poignant ending.