It’s Saturday!

That it is, the weather is fine and life is good… well almost. I lost my debit card and the bank is closed today so no money until Monday! Well I have my credit card so it’s not so bad, and I can just transfer what I have spent on the weekend back to the card so it’s a net nothing. Well not net nothing but whatever.

I don’t really know if anything exciting is going on right now, to be totally honest. Tonight I’m going to finish my Suomea Suomessa application form and translate my CV and post in my Finnish blog (finally). Russian blog too, of course. I wrote there yesterday. Also I have to start working on my guest post over at Crook & Villain. It will be exciting. Most exciting.

I recently finished the Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. It was brilliant. I’m intrigued actually by the variety of the covers also. The hardcover North American edition I have is this one:

Which is pretty cool, and it really brings the setting into the forefront, as one would not really know it is set in Japan until starting to read it. With this kind of ‘ink-painting’-esque style, it really tells one a little of what the book is about. It is also reminiscent of this painting:

Dutch Trader Watching an Incoming VOC Ship at Dejima - Kawahara Keiga c. 1810

The British cover is a little more whimsy while maintaining the setting and the mystery about the story:

Though I am a sucker for two-tone line drawings. I like how it also shows how isolated Dejima (the setting for the book) is.

This cover I like the least but I’m not sure for which market it is:

It just reduces it to a story about an ‘exotic’ woman. Admittedly, in a way it is, but I just hate covers like this with a faceless woman on it, especially one in an ‘ethnic’ costume. The other covers make the book seem more exciting and mysterious.

Here is a pretty cool map of Dejima from 1824 or thereabouts:

And here it is in the modern day:

Outline of where Dejima is today. (Keith Finch, CC license)

It’s pretty amazing. I heard that David Mitchell decided to write the book after having visited the Dejima Museum in Nagasaki. I want to visit it too. My father has been to Nagasaki, but a long time ago. I really want to go back to Japan, it’s a fascinating country with a very rich history (I was there when I was 15, in 2004 or thereabouts).

Anyways onto my opinion of the book itself

I really enjoyed this book. It only got better as it went on. To be honest, the first part was a little slow and insufferable in terms of Mr. de Zoet’s character (lovelorn young man). I was expecting, since I haven’t read any other books by David Mitchell, for a very typical kind of story taking off from the beginning, where Orito (the Japanese woman, with whom Jacob is in love) and Jacob would live happily ever after. However, the story is much more complex and rich than that.

Despite the ridiculous amount of voices (Ogawa, de Zoet, Orito, &c &c) I really quite liked Mitchell’s book. I read it quite quickly and would highly recommend it for a nice, relaxing read, albeit a slightly addictive one. Reading the book, I felt immersed in the world. It is very well researched. RECOMMENDED.

Anyways, it’s time to get some things done so..

Em out

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