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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#16  Postby Gannon » 16 Nov 2012, 05:06

Hey guys today my signed first edition, first print of "Number9dream" turned up. A beautiful edition. I now have four of his novels all signed firsts.
I have only a chapter to go of "Ghostwritten". You guys have simply got to read this amazing book. I am going straight back to read it again. All the chapters are so woven together you really have to flip back and forth to fully understand what is going on. Brilliant writing. There are also characters and references to "Cloud Atlas" I really don't want to say anything about it because I am sure that you will love it. Just a tiny teaser and example, in the second or third chapter the main character of the chapter saves a woman from being hit by a car. Then in the second last chapter the reader is introduced to a character, a woman, who has a bruise on her eye, she makes up different stories to different people before telling us the true story and we find out she is the woman from the second chapter who was saved from being hit by the car. There are parts like this all throughout the book. The only trouble with Mitchell's books is that you have to read them at least twice to really appreciate the writing that has gone into them. :D
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#17  Postby Fran » 16 Nov 2012, 06:25

@Gannon
I am so jealous ... I'm still waiting for Ghostwritten & Number9dream from the library & my foot is tapping with impatience - why can't these people read faster? :lol:
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#18  Postby DATo » 17 Nov 2012, 21:11

Very good video regarding Thousand Autumns:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m1yopTHb2Y

You really do want to see this !
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#19  Postby Fran » 22 Nov 2012, 18:28

@DATo
Thank you so much for posting that superb link. Like Gannon I had, of course, to go through all the interviews.
Are we now Mitchell geeks ... what do you think? :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#20  Postby Gannon » 22 Nov 2012, 19:59

Fran wrote:@DATo
Thank you so much for posting that superb link. Like Gannon I had, of course, to go through all the interviews.
Are we now Mitchell geeks ... what do you think? :lol: :lol:


Hahaha, Fran I think we definitely qualify as "Mitchell Geeks". :D

DATo has got me really curious about Number9Dream, with his warning. Have you read it?

Forget about that last question, I just realised that you are waiting for it from the library. Looks like I will get to read it first, as it is next on my TBR.
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#21  Postby DATo » 22 Nov 2012, 23:57

Fran,

Glad you liked the link. I didn't wish to take liberties with regard to links but I thought it was apropos for this thread. I too enjoyed it very much. Mitchell seems like a very likable guy. I was surprised to learn that his wife is Japanese but this only lends greater validity to his understanding of the cultural differences described in the novel. "Mitchell Geeks" ... I like that !!! [:-)

Gannon,

Yes, I think we three are indeed "Mitchell Geeks". Fran has chosen the perfect phrase (or title) for our aberrant groopie behavior. You will be pleased to learn that I picked up Ghostwritten at our university library Wednesday afternoon. I am just about done with Number9Dream and will probably be well into Ghostwritten sometime tomorrow because we are off work due to a holiday and I will have plenty of undisturbed time to read.

Number9Dream contains R rated language, violence, and some sexual explicitness which seems out of place for a David Mitchell book, but then, in keeping with what I have come to expect regarding Mitchell's widely varying writing styles I suppose I should not be surprised. Actually, yes, it IS worth reading. The violence does not permeate the entire book but when it does occur you will definitely know the part(s) I am talking about as you are reading them, and they will be difficult to forget.
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#22  Postby Fran » 23 Nov 2012, 06:18

@DATo
Just in case you think I coined the "Mitchell Geeks" tag, I quote no less an authority than the New York Times:

Mitchell’s readership is also uncommonly diverse, comprising “Mitchell Geeks,” who pursue him at readings and with “Lost” -like fanaticism trace and trade the references in his books; hip academics who hold conferences on his work; filmmakers like the Wachowski brothers (who bought the rights to Mitchell’s third novel, “Cloud Atlas”); and, by and by, some of the world’s most lauded writers, among them the Booker Prize winners A. S. Byatt, Kazuo Ishiguro and Hilary Mantel and the American literary lights Michael Chabon and Claire Messud.

He really comes across as a very charming, sell effacing guy in those interviews .... must be the positive influence of West Cork! :lol:

Forgot to add .... I was delighted to discover the pronouncation of deZoet, had wondered about that :lol:
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#23  Postby Carrie R » 23 Nov 2012, 12:15

I have this book on hold at the library. After reading through this thread, I accessed my account to see how many people are in front of me for it. It appears it just became available for me to pick up today. Yay! Unfortunately I am out of town. Dang Murphy's Law...
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#24  Postby DATo » 23 Nov 2012, 16:23

Fran,

I too was surprised to learn that the central character's name is pronounced de Zoot. I was also surprised to learn that Mitchell had rewritten the book three times. I like watching / listening to these interviews because they are about as close as I will ever get to an actual conversation with Mitchell himself and often things are revealed in these interviews which we would have no other way of knowing. An example of this was his mention that he had struggled for a long time trying to find a way to justify the fact that they could understand each other until he had underwent an epiphany and realized that NOT being able to understand each other was actually an asset to the book and I'm sure you will agree that this added a whole new dimension to the story.

Carrie,

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zote is Mitchell's most straight forward novel and is written in the traditional manner that most readers would expect. I think this novel is among the finest I have ever read for many reasons. I'm sure Gannon, Fran and I would be very interested in your views when you've read it. I have just finished Number9Dream and am about to begin Ghostwritten after-which I intend to reread Thousand Autumns.
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#25  Postby Fran » 23 Nov 2012, 19:38

@DATo
They really are quite fascinating interviews & I was totally stunned when he said he's rewritten the book three times before he was satisfied he'd got the voice right - now that is the kind of effort & dedication that exemplifies a real writer, none of the "get it out there & start counting the $$" attitude!
I absolutely agree with the not understanding each other, had they understood each other it would have defeated the whole cultural difference theme of the book. I loved his telling of how he came up with the gardering idea as a means of getting them to meet when they really should have had no opportunity whatsoever to cross paths.

@Carrie
As DATo says I think you will love this book & certainly we'll be looking forward to your input & to signing you up as a "Mitchell geek" :lol:
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#26  Postby Carrie R » 24 Nov 2012, 11:17

Fran wrote:@DATo
@Carrie
As DATo says I think you will love this book & certainly we'll be looking forward to your input & to signing you up as a "Mitchell geek" :lol:


Uh oh. The pressure's on. :wink:

-- 10 Dec 2012, 17:23 --

I'm on page 300 and really liking it so far. It's a slower read in that the Japanese names and words slow me down, but what a story. I can't wait to go back and read the rest of the comments in this thread when I'm done. I don't want to yet in case there are any spoilers. :)

-- 16 Dec 2012, 17:26 --

***Spoilers***

Finally finished the book. Beautifully written, and I can't imagine the amount of research involved to write it. The characters were rich, and the settings so descriptive. That being said, I was a bit frustrated by the point of view changes. I got so caught up with Jacob, and then suddenly it's Orito's story. And that was great, because, what a story. But then there were more point-of-view changes, including a new character, Captain Penhaligon, introduced as far as page 326 of the book. At this point, it was hard for me to switch gears; I wanted to continue on with the Jacob/Orito story.

Had the book not been so masterfully written, I might not have had the patience to plow through this new storyline of Penhaligon and his crew. But Mitchell did such a fine job drafting Penhaligon--in fact, that may have been his richest character, what with the death of his son and his horrible gout--that my interest to see how it all tied together was maintained.

All in all, an ambitious book that makes a writer envious of such gifted talent. Thanks for pointing me in its direction. :)
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#27  Postby A24 » 21 Feb 2013, 14:30

I finally finished listening to this one - wow, it was 17 cd's long! I only listened in the car on commutes and this was interrupted by a week's vacation. I don't know how I feel about this one? I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. It is a complicated and long book with different languages, and oh so many characters! A lot to keep track of especially when only listening to it part-time. The story seemed disjointed and jumped around. I did love the writing and some of the quotes were great. Wonderful Japanese history which I never would've known about otherwise. I'm going to give it a 3.5/5
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#28  Postby Gannon » 22 Feb 2013, 00:23

A24 wrote:I finally finished listening to this one - wow, it was 17 cd's long! I only listened in the car on commutes and this was interrupted by a week's vacation. I don't know how I feel about this one? I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. It is a complicated and long book with different languages, and oh so many characters! A lot to keep track of especially when only listening to it part-time. The story seemed disjointed and jumped around. I did love the writing and some of the quotes were great. Wonderful Japanese history which I never would've known about otherwise. I'm going to give it a 3.5/5


Hi A24. You may have enjoyed it more if you had not read it over such a long period of time. It is definitely not a book to read over multiple sessions. As you say, many characters, story jumping all over the place. I don't think I would have liked it nearly as much had I read or listened to it in such a way. 17 cds long, holy moly. :D
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Re: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet by David Mitchell

Post Number:#29  Postby DATo » 22 Feb 2013, 02:29

Ofttime it is difficult to know with certainty exactly what it is that grabs us when we find ourselves totally immersed in a novel. Sometimes it may be the genre and other times it may be the writing style, or the characters, or some combination of each of these things; but, probably, most often it is the story itself. With regard to this particular book, I think for me it was the strangeness of a conceit consisting of the attempts of two, widely disparate cultures attempting to interact together for mutual benefit. I was also taken by the way Mitchell so beautifully phrased his writing. Once again, this is my opinion only, but I feel this book is equal to any of the great classics written in the last century and think it will someday be recognized as such.

One of the reasons that I would like to read this book once more is because I found a lot of things that are worthy of deeper investigation and analysis, such as the symbol of heirlooms which I mention in an earlier post. Several characters receive either heirlooms or gifts in this novel and I think Mitchell is trying to say something by employing this device. An heirloom is something that transcends time, and this is a theme that Mitchell seems to include in all of his novels. Sometimes the real genius of a novel is not seen on the surface when we are reading the book for the first time because we are obsessed with the story itself and distracted from the more subtile things written between the lines. I find that these things only make themselves known later when I consider the finer points of the book.
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