I'm away from home at the moment, and have a book I need to read for review, so with regret (and not wanting to travel with two hefty hardbacks) I've had to set this aside until I return. It's a measure of the book that I can't wait to get back into it.
Mitchell is one of my favorite contemporary novelists, and Thousand Autumns ... doesn't disappoint. It's a mesmering window into a truly fascinating period - the dawn of the modern age - and a snapshot of the intersection of two radically different cultures - feudal Japan in and around Nagasaki, and a corrupt outpost of the Dutch East India Company in 1799. Mitchell is a brilliant, cunning engineer of narrative hooks - it's difficult to imagine a more compulsive, page-turning narrative - but he's also a great writer of character, and on a line by line basis the writing is quite beautiful. When he mentions a bat, "chased by its own furry turbulence", he hooks an image into my mind that I think will stay with me forever.