Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet written by David Mitchell.... I don't know where to begin, but I do know I have never been more frustrated and intrigued at the same time. I read a review of the book in some magazine and the reviewer raved about the eloquent language and beautiful prose...blah blah and whatever he said made me go buy the hardcover for $26.00 or rather.. my husband went and bought it for me. I liked the first chapter,  after that I became completely disinterested in the characters, the names were forgettable as were the personalities. I put the book on the shelf for about five months, I took it down twice and attempted to begin reading again, and again I couldn't remember what I had just read??? At the beginning of December I thought I would attempt once more, thinking I WILL get through this book, after a few chapters my interest deepened. The language mostly bothered me, but I got past it. Here are a few examples:

The music provokes a sharp longing the music soothes. How can such a prig, wonders Jacob, play with such divinity? Night insects trill, tick, bore, ring; drill, prick, saw, sting...

The yeasty moon is caged in his half-Japanese half-Dutch window...Glass panes melt moonlight; paper panes filter it, to dust. Daybreak must be near.

Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike-topped walls, and triple bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas, and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule drivers, mules, and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunchbacked makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of it's bridges, glimpsed from kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges.    AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (that's me!) there are many sentences that go one this way, about all kinds of things and also he sometimes rhymes things like you are reading a child's book!

Twilight is cold with the threat of snow. The forest's edges dissolve and blur. A black dog waits on an outcrop. He scents a fox's hot stink.

and.... here are some poetic phrases for your reading enjoyment

"Will yer cork yer quack'n' an' do it yer f'ck'r...."

The rectum of Wybo Gerritszoon releases a hot fart of horror.

So, I do have to say I came across a very lovely phrase and this almost made me forget how much some of the language bothered me.

Here is is.

Creation unfolds around us, despite us, and through us, at the speed of days and nights, and we like to call it "love."

As the story became a bit more clear, I actually got a bit excited and enjoyed my time in the pages, as I rushed toward the finish, I was once again thrown into this bogged down unsettling pile of useless wording!!!!! After finishing the book, I thought briefly of promptly throwing it into the fireplace where a nice fire was blazing away. I'm not one for book burning but I was highly tempted, just for the pissed off feeling it left me with. Maybe it is a good thing, to stir up ones emotions with a book unlike any you've read before. I've heard this novel was a departure from his other works, but I don't think I will be reading any of those, but... maybe.

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