Sunday, 25 April 2010

Book of the Week and Bibliography - David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

A couple of weeks since I posted, due to volcanic ash! However, normal service can now be resumed..... David Mitchell is often cited as the best young writer in the UK, although now that he has entered his 40’s and is about to publish his fifth novel (The Thousand Zutumns of Jacob de Zoet) , he should probably be viewed simply as one of our greatest authors. Mitchell was born on 12 Jan 1969, in Southport in England, raised in Malvern, Worcestershire, and educated at the University of Kent, studying for a degree in English and American Literature followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature. He lived for a year in Sicily, then moved to Hiroshima, Japan, where he taught English to technical students for eight years, before returning to England. After another stint in Japan, he currently lives in Ireland with his wife Keiko and their two children.

Mitchell's first novel, Ghostwritten (1999), moves around the globe, from Okinawa to Mongolia to pre-Millennial New York City, as nine narrators tell stories that interlock and intersect. The novel won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (for best work of British literature written by an author under 35) and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His two subsequent novels, number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and his subsequent novel (Black Swan Green) was longlisted. In 2003, Mitchell was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, and in 2007, Mitchell he was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet has been eagerly awaited, and early reviews are very strong. The book is published as a standard hardcover and also as a limited slipcased and signed edition (500 copies), at a relatively expensive £50 (though discounted by Amazon to £37.50).

“Imagine a nation banishing the outside world for two centuries, crushing all vestiges of Christianity, forbidding its subjects to leave its shores on pain of death, and harbouring a deep mistrust of European ideas. The narrow window onto this nation-fortress is a walled, artificial island attached to the mainland port and manned by a handful of traders. Locked as the land-gate may be, however, it cannot prevent the meeting of minds – or hearts. The nation was Japan, the port was Nagasaki and the island was Dejima, to where David Mitchell's panoramic novel transports us in the year 1799. For one young Dutch clerk, Jacob de Zoet, a strage adventure of duplicity, love, guilt, faith and murder is about to begin – and all the while, unbeknownst to the men confined on Dejima, the axis of global power is turning...”

Bibliography and price guide (unsigned):

Ghostwritten, Sceptre, 1999, paperback - £40

number9dream , Sceptre, 2001, paperback - £40

Cloud Atlas, Sceptre, 2004, hardcover - £35

Black Swan Green, Sceptre, 2006, hardcover - £10-15. Also one thousand signed and numbered copies in a slipcase, currently around £25.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Sceptre, 2010, Hardcover - £10 -15. Signed Limited Edition in Slipcase (500 copies) - £37.50.

Wake. David Mitchell, Klaas de Vries Published: Enschede, Nationale Reisopera, 2010. A programme including David Mitchell's libretto for Klaas de Vries's Opera, Wake, in Dutch and English. £20-25.


Anonymous said...

I've seen this book already in its fourth print run at Waterstone's

Anonymous said...

I believe 'Cloud Atlas' will not be avaliable below £100 for a 1st/1st anymore. The movie might add some value if Hanks has a good performance. The slipcased '500 Autumns...' have gone up as well in value.