The exhilarating new novel by 'one of the most brilliantly inventive writers of this, or any country' - Boyd Tonkin, Independent.
David Mitchell's first novel, GHOSTWRITTEN, was awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, NUMBER9DREAM, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists and his third novel, CLOUD ATLAS, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize and won the British Book Awards Best Literary Fiction and South Bank Show Literature Prize. His previous novel, BLACK SWAN GREEN, was published in 2006 and was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award. Born in 1969, he grew up in Worcestershire, and now lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
Compared with almost everything being written now, it is vertiginously ambitious - and brilliant...He can write as thrillingly about large-scale events as he can about the tiny details of the private world. Such fluent and masterful command of both domains seems the stuff of a true artist's gifts - The TimesUnquestionably a marvel - entirely original among contemporary British novels, revealing its author as, surely, the most impressive fictional mind of his generation - ObserverMitchell gives us a world of stories in prose that brings a lump to the throat...dive in and lose yourself in a world of incredible scope, originality and imaginative brilliance. David Mitchell has done it again. - Independent on SundaySpectacularly accomplished and thrillingly suspenseful...it brims with rich, involving and affecting humanity. - Sunday TimesArguably his finest...Every sentence yields glorious surprises that no one else could think up...It will doubtless earn Mitchell his fourth Man Booker nomination and, if there's any justice, his first win. - Sunday TelegraphHowever 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. - IndependentHugely enjoyable...the descriptions of Dejima and what life there must have b
It is a rare novel that's so captivating that the reader feels transported through time and fully immersed in an unfamiliar culture and place, and this is such a novel. Mitchell, a Man Booker Prize finalist for Cloud Atlas, returns with a story set at the turn of the 18th century around Dejima, an artificial island located in Nagasaki Bay and used as a trade outpost by the Dutch East Indies Company. A small group of mostly Dutch merchants lives on Dejima under the watchful eye of Japanese guards, government officials, and translators. Clerk Jacob de Zoet comes to Dejima for a period of five years to make his fortune and return to marry his wealthy fiancee in Holland. An honest man, Jacob intends to put the company's financial records in order and root out corruption, but after meeting midwife Orito Aibagawa, he becomes entangled in events far more sinister than forged ledgers. Verdict This painstakingly researched and original novel is hard to pin to any one genre, for it is a historical novel and cultural study with plenty of intrigue and mystery mixed in. It is intelligent and utterly readable at the same time. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/10.]-Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Mitchell's rightly been hailed as a virtuoso genius for his genre-bending, fiercely intelligent novels Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas . Now he takes something of a busman's holiday with this majestic historical romance set in turn-of-the-19th-century Japan, where young, naïve Jacob de Zoet arrives on the small manmade island of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor as part of a contingent of Dutch East Indies officials charged with cleaning up the trading station's entrenched culture of corruption. Though engaged to be married in the Netherlands, he quickly falls in hopeless love with Orito Aibagawa, a Dutch-trained Japanese midwife and promising student of Marinus, the station's resident physician. Their "courtship" is strained, as foreigners are prohibited from setting foot on the Japanese mainland, and the only relationships permitted between Japanese women and foreign men on Dejima are of the paid variety. Jacob has larger trouble, though; when he refuses to sign off on a bogus shipping manifest, his stint on Dejima is extended and he's demoted, stuck in the service of a vengeful fellow clerk. Meanwhile, Orito's father dies deeply in debt, and her stepmother sells her into service at a mountaintop shrine where her midwife skills are in high demand, she soon learns, because of the extraordinarily sinister rituals going on in the secretive shrine. This is where the slow-to-start plot kicks in, and Mitchell pours on the heat with a rescue attempt by Orito's first love, Uzaemon, who happens to be Jacob's translator and confidant. Mitchell's ventriloquism is as sharp as ever; he conjures men of Eastern and Western science as convincingly as he does the unscrubbed sailor rabble. Though there are more than a few spots of embarrassingly bad writing ("How scandalized Nagasaki shall be, thinks Uzaemon, if the truth is ever known"), Mitchell's talent still shines through, particularly in the novel¿s riveting final act, a pressure-cooker of tension, character work, and gorgeous set pieces. It's certainly no Cloud Atlas , but it is a dense and satisfying historical with literary brawn and stylistic panache. (July ) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.