The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet is the latest novel from David Mitchell. The story focuses around the central character of Jacob De Zoet. Young Jacob is a penniless Dutch clergyman`s son sent to Nagasaki in the final year of the 18th century. A member of the Dutch East India Company, he is supposed to make his fortune in six years so he can return to marry his beloved Anna back in Holland. The Dutch trade with the reclusive Edo-era Japanese on an island and are rarely allowed on the mainland. The practice of Christianity is banned; they are forbidden from learning Japanese and there are spies everywhere among servants and interpreters. Jacob is charged with uncovering corruption among the traders and soon falls out of favour with his boss and his peers. Nothing goes to plan. He falls for another woman, a Japanese midwife, who is sent to a mysterious shrine in the mountains.
This is a marvellously wrought novel, full of fully formed characters and the kind of detail that allows you to sink deep into its imaginary world. I was sorry when I fnished.