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The Mulberry St. Blog is a review and writing blog. I review mostly fiction/science fiction/fantasy sorts of books, with the exception of the occasional YA or nonfiction book. The blog is updated daily, excluding Mondays.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Life of a Book: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

I'm obsessed with this book. Or, rather the idea of this book. By no means do I meant that lightly. First of all, one of the goodreads reviewers references Dr. Seuss in his review. Considering this is a blog named after the very first Dr. Seuss book ever written, well, do I need to say more? But that's all surface stuff. Just look at the book. It's fiction in its finest. I've come to the conclusion recently that I'm not really a YA person, or at least not the YA person I once was. Every YA story is the same formula. Every fiction story is the same formula. The difference is that I've read a whole ton of YA. I've read about a feather's worth of fiction. That's why my current books of choice are books like The Beauty of Humanity Movement, Last Dragon, Napier's Bones, etc. There's a different vibe from fiction, I think.
In 1799, Jacob de Zoet disembarks on the tiny island of Dejima, the Dutch East India Company’s remotest trading post in a Japan otherwise closed to the outside world. A junior clerk, his task is to uncover evidence of the previous Chief Resident’s corruption.

Cold-shouldered by his compatriots, Jacob earns the trust of a local interpreter and, more dangerously, becomes intrigued by a rare woman – a midwife permitted to study on Dejima under the company physician. He cannot foresee how disastrously each will be betrayed by someone they trust, nor how intertwined and far-reaching the consequences.

Duplicity and integrity, love and lust, guilt and faith, cold murder and strange immortality stalk the stage in this enthralling novel, which brings to vivid life the ordinary – and extraordinary – people caught up in a tectonic shift between East and West.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet embodies everything I love about life. Just read that last paragraph - it seems to scream my name. There's something compelling about a book that has themes beyond teenage angst. That's why books like The Hunger Games are still enjoyable to me. While YA, it still explores themes that we all understand. Its why The Book Thief remains my favorite book. Its YA, but not in the typical way.

As for the Life of a Book "analysis", this book was published a year ago, May 2010. Raise your hand if you've heard of it. I see no hands. That may or may not have something to do with the thousands of miles between the two of us, but no matter. My point remains: its unknown. It's probably amazing, although I don't speak for it because I haven't actually read it. I'd suggest it, but I don't want to be responsible for its content. They say for better or for worse, but that's only in marriage, and as much as it may seem like it sometimes, I'm definitely not married to my library.

I guess this whole life-of-a-book thing is turning more into another one of my "let's talk about books" posts under the guise of a "this is what I'm looking forward to that's already out" post.

I was in a very hyper mood when I wrote this, apparently. I'm currently on vacation, which means this was written last week in advance for you. I probably won't post again 'til the Saturday review, just because I didn't prepare anything else. Have a good week! (I know I will...)


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