One Sentence Summary
The experiences of Jacob de Zoet, a clerk at a Dutch trading post in the still-closed Japan of 1799, as he deals with Dutch/Japanese politics, out-of-reach love, and an all time great literary villain.
“The present is a battleground” –Yoshida straightens his spine as best he can—“where rival what-ifs compete to become the future ‘what is.'” (205)
Why I Read It
Mitchel’s 2002 book, Cloud Atlas, is one of my favorite books of the 00’s, and this was getting stunning reviews, so I picked it up for my first full read of summer.
Favorite Thing About the Book
The way Mitchell brings the world of the Dutch port of Dejima and parts of 1799 Japan were engrossing. The world was so foreign that it had a similar effect to moving into a fantasy world in some of the best imaginative fiction out there.
Least Favorite Thing About the Book
I’m not sure this is really a complaint, but the book’s plot kept on going places I didn’t expect it to go, without always giving the resolution I had hoped for from certain plot lines. The book’s true central plot is not really obvious until the end of the book, and it’s certainly not what is mentioned on the book jacket.
This is a Great Book, though it requires some patience, because the plot does move slowly at times and some of the dialect is challenging. With that said, for those who are up for it, it is an amazing reading experience.