The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet Author:David Mitchell Imagine a nation banishing the outside world for two centuries, crushing all vestiges of Christianity, forbidding its subjects to leave its shores on pain of death, and harbouring a deep mistrust of European ideas. The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world,... more » designed to keep the West at bay. It is also the farthest-flung outpost of the powerful Dutch East Indies Company.
To this place of superstition and swamp fever, crocodiles and costly courtesans, earthquakes and typhoons, devious merchants and deceitful interpreters, comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland. But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. In this world where East and West are linked by one bridge, Jacob sees the gaps shrink between pleasure and piety, propriety and profit, and the borders blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken -- the consequences of which will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings.