I second that. :D
And I will third that !!! [:-)
Just finished Thousand Autumns
and I am still in the process of emotionally coming down from the last few pages. In those final pages I felt as though I walked beside Jacob, once again in the land of his birth, privileged to share a knowledge that would remain unspoken to those around him, a knowledge of experiences they could never be made to comprehend. Mitchell, beside being gifted in so many other ways, is capable of instilling feelings in the reader which defy prosaic description. He sometimes paints his meaning in the form of shadowy, abstract sensations
such as what I describe above. The end of Jacob's story reminded me of looking upon an ancient forest of trees in winter, starkly bare, devoid of the lush leaves and greenery of summer, and yet standing dignified - a living testament to the history of the ages it has witnessed.
I am haunted by the knowledge that Jacob will never know why Captain Penhaligon did not fire the carronades. I want to shout out to him Tristram's name. I ache for him as he watches his son grow smaller in the distance as the ship pulls out of Nagasaki bay knowing he will never see him again, and I am reminded of the feelings I experienced over Magistrate Shiroyama's last moments with his son too. I found it curiously interesting that in both cases the sons (Shiroyama's son & Jacob's future son) were not particularly interested in the keepsakes their fathers offered them. The keepsakes were the symbols of their father's lives and their family ancestry, but the boys were each too young to understand, and in this too I found a heartbreaking pathos. Is this Mitchell's way of indicating how we blithely dismiss the efforts, sacrifices and history of our own forebears?
Throughout the novel games were played in which Mitchell described every move of the card games and the game of 'Go' between the conversation of the players. I've wondered if he was suggesting that life itself is a game and that all our interactions with others are simply the implementation of strategies to achieve our desired goals; or, that perhaps in the final summation our lives are as insignificant as a game despite the seriousness with which we view it, and live it.
The very last scene in which Orito comes to him (at last) has been done before many times (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Time Traveler's Wife
ect.) and I was a bit disappointed with Mitchell for employing this less-than-original ending but once again Fran nailed it ... the final sentence of the novel made the cliche-like ending sweet and palatable.
"A well-waxed paper door slides open."
Pure poetry !!!