Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"The thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" by David Mitchell. - A review

"The thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" by David Mitchell.

There are books that one reads in one sitting; some, a few chapters; and very select few, that can be read only in small doses of few pages at a time. The thousand Autumns of Jacob de joet is a masterpiece that  falls in the third category . A book that can only be relished, enjoyed and appreciated in small quantities; not because that story line is complex or the style of writing complicated:  its just the sheer beauty of the prose and the fragrance of the period that it invokes, that desires it to be read slowly - pausing a little to allow - the earthy fragrance of rural Japan in the eighteenth century, the intricate customs and codes of its inhabitants , the stench of the Dutch and English colonization and exploitation; the slow blossoming of love, passion and forbidden relationships : to seep into our being reluctantly, at first, and then slowly but assuredly making us a integral part of the story as it unfolds.

The narrative of David Mitchell is refreshing in its approach.  Crisp dialogues interspersed with  succinct observations on the atmosphere in which the act is placed; weaves a mysteriously kaleidoscopic effect on the reader. Every sentence is beautifully crafted and brilliantly researched. The story takes on many hues and dimensions, but the backdrop of Japanese culture and its mixed reactions to western encroachments , morals and attitudes , stands out as the central theme of the book.

I would not want to summarize the story ; primarily because it wouldn't do justice to this layered play of emotions, intrigue and drama . Read this , if you are a book lover. Preferably, buy the book and keep it by your bedside, and read a few pages before you go to bed. Probably, some of its magic may resonate in your dreams.

Cheers ..................................

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