Imagine a nation banishing the outside world for two centuries, forbidding its subjects to leave its shores on pain of death, and harbouring a deep mistrust of European ideas.
Set in Japan in 1799, a young Dutch clerk, Jacob de Zoet, is about to embark on a strange adventure of duplicity, love, and murder - and all the while the axis of global power is turning.
©2010 David Mitchell (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
"The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet"
What a marvellous tale - beautifully written and beautifully read. I was 'transported' in my mind to historical Japan and absolutely hooked throughout, waiting to see whether or not Jacob De Zoet would eventually succeed against all the odds being united with the Japanese lady he fell for early in the story. I have been listening to Audible books for well over a year and this is the best book yet - as a literary work and as compulsive listening - by far. I was so pleased to spend about 5 hours driving by myself so I could listen to the third and final part uninterrupted! Oh for more by this amazing author.
"Fantastic story fantastically read!"
It is a love story, yes, but much more than that too. I was really transported back to Japan at that time - the perilous life led by the colonists so far away from home in a culture that was totally alien. How this ill-assorted bunch coped with the isolation in their different ways,from visiting whores to botany; the corruption - both Dutch and Japanese; the power of the shadowy Shogun - it is all intriguing and gave me a true flavour of what life was like at that time. The plot twists and turns and is both funny and sad at times, but it carries you along and never drags. What added an extra dimension to an already captivating tale though, was how excellently it is read - both narrators made a cracking good job of coping with the Japanese accents. Added to this Jonathan Aris showed such versatility, Irish, West Country, London, German... and of course Dutch accents - all tackled successfully - it is rare to hear such skill. The reading made the book really shine in my opinion. In short, if you are considering reading this book hesitate no longer - it is excellent!
"1000 Autumns is a 1001 Delights"
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this audio novel. At first sight it seems quite a strange story yet it is absorbing and intriguing from the very start and one is quickly transformed. The writing is superb. Wonderful characters in cultural juxtaposition are vividly and lovingly brought to life by the narrators. We have played bits over again for the pure enjoyment and not because we fell asleep while listening! This is our book of the year.
"Oscars all round!"
One of the most brilliant books I have read and the two readers of this recording are wonderful. I am stunned it wasn't short listed for the Booker.
Oh such a good tale, everytime I thought I knew where the story was going it turned in another direction. Dazzling writing and well researched. Cannot think of a negetive comment! Wanted straight away to listen to another David Mitchell, but Audible, why do you only have them in abridged format? Hope you remedy this asap.
I adored this book and almost cried when it was finished, so immersed in the story had I become. Thank you, David Mitchell, and also the two excellent narrators, for a spellbinding experience.
"... and for the mind, stories."
'a thousand autumns' is, as many reviewers have said before me, a mature work which fulfils mitchell's earlier promise. part love story, part horror story; part imperial mea culpa, part hymn to duty, faith, and honour, this book brings cloistered japan, the mercantile dutch, their slaves, the free and pressed men of the british navy - all, to perfumed, formal, chaotic, ailing, lovely, cruel, fair, life; and to death also, death, life's indivisible, irrespective of black magic and the beckoning promise of science. the language is delightful and - imperceptibly, at first, over an interspersed series of descriptive passages, gradually transmutes into verse and back out again for the action. beautifully and intelligently read by jonathan aris and paula wilcox, this audiobook is a total pleasure and comes highly recommended by me. may david mitchell live a long long life!
"The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet"
I found this really hard to get into and left off after a few chapters, BUT I returned some weeks later and really listened. The story gathers momentum and purpose as you listen on.
The social mores and customs of the early 19th century Japan and Dutch settlers is fascinating BUT OOOOH when the story unfolds of kidnapped women, babies born to monks - I won't go on so as not to spoil the treat. I just couldn't stop listening in the end.
"It must be me"
Oh dear, I am wondering where I lost the plot...was there one? Whilst the narrative was indeed very descriptive I did not feel absorbed into this novel. The opening sequence of the difficult birth was encouraging and I felt I had made a good choice, but having listened to hours and hours of not a lot I am afraid I gave up. Maybe I just didn't care enough about what happened to Jacob.
A brilliant combination of writer and reader. Has to be a candidate for the best audio book of the year/decade/century.
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