Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: Week One

Keskustelu75 Books Challenge for 2011

Liity LibraryThingin jäseneksi, niin voit kirjoittaa viestin.

Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: Week One

Tämä viestiketju on "uinuva" —viimeisin viesti on vanhempi kuin 90 päivää. Ryhmä "virkoaa", kun lähetät vastauksen.

1msf59
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 9:41am

I decided to split this into two separate weeks. The 1st week, which kicks off Wednesday, will take us up to Chapter 19, (about 240 pages, so not bad) and the 2nd week will take us home.
Please be careful of spoilers and keep your comments in the correct week.
Also keep in mind, this is just a suggested reading plan. If you are a slower reader, take your time, this is not a race. I just want everyone to have a nice time. Enjoy!

2vancouverdeb
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 9:49am

Thanks Mark! I don't think you're link in the other thread works -but I found you anyway! I'm just finishing off another book - and then I'll pull Thousand Autumns off my shelf. This is my first group read....... I'll try to get it right. Thanks for doing this.

3labfs39
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 10:10am

Hmmm... the link worked for me...

4richardderus
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 10:52am

See, Lisa? Crutches are no bar on the Internet! Amazon this puppy.

5benitastrnad
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 3:27pm

I noticed in the other general thread that somebody mentioned that the book was slow going for them. I found it so as well. I started reading this book about a week ago and found it quite different than Mitchell's other book Cloud Atlas. It was a very straightforward work of historical fiction. I am now about 200 pages into the book and it is starting to pick up and becoming more like what I thought I expected from Mitchell. I will be interested to find out if others reading this book have the same reaction to the first section.

6keristars
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 3:39pm

Yes, I got to page 73 while in the doctor's waiting room today (up from 60 when I posted about it going kind of slow), and it is very straight-up historical fiction, which isn't really what I expected from what I knew of Mitchell. That it might change a bit in ~100 pages is promising...

Not that I don't like the historical fiction part, since it fits in a period that I enjoy reading about and a place where I've never read historical fiction before, it's just not what I was expecting. Also, I keep having this disconnect when they're talking about Dutch vs Japanese, but all the words are in English! Like on page 69 when Jacob says "a noble aspiration" and Aibagawa asks "what is noble respiration?" and things like that.

7benitastrnad
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 3:47pm

I too noticed that they were talking in Japanese and Dutch and I was reading it in English and that made me stop and think about what was really going on. Did Mitchell have some kind of purpose in that? I like to read translated books and sometimes the translations are clunky and stiff so that you can tell it is a translation. Sometimes because it is too literal. Other times the translation is seamless and I can't tell that I am reading a translated book.

I wonder if the word play is on purpose? That happened in Cloud Atlas, and it was part of the clues to the story. I also wonder if the idea that communicating is hard no matter what language it is in, is part of the story?

8labfs39
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 4:13pm

#4 Pah, when I want a book, let no escalator bar the way! Anyway, I've got it, and will start soon. Now for an ice pack! :-)

9vancouverdeb
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 6:13pm

I'm starting Thousand Autumns today, because I just finished another book -and I am eager to get onto Thousand Autumns.

10Smiler69
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 6:27pm

Just checking in. I'll be back once I've started making progress and don't want to fall on any spoiler at all, as don't want my opinion coloured in any way. It's my first book by Mitchell and I'm really looking forward to it!

11tangledthread
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 8:14pm

I've found a character list for the book here: https://docs.google.com/View?id=dc2wxqtd_7cqr536fs&pli=1

I started this book before and started losing track of the characters. Maybe others will also find it helpful

12-Cee-
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 8:20pm

Yikes! All those characters???
Can I change my mind about reading this book?

whatRUdoin2me, Mark?

13keristars
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 8:36pm

7> I wonder if the word play is on purpose? That happened in Cloud Atlas, and it was part of the clues to the story.

That's what I was wondering, but of course it's far too early in the book for me to be able to tell. And I haven't read Cloud Atlas yet, but was aware of some of what he did in it (and I do want to read it, sometime this year - would've read it this month, except for the fact that we're doing this book as a group read instead :P)

A question: the mercury that Jacob has brought to Dejima is meant for curing syphilis, correct? I know it's meant for an STD, but couldn't quite remember which one it is. Syphilis seems like the right choice, but I'm not positive.

14Dejah_Thoris
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 8:44pm

>13 keristars: I haven't started the book yet, but I can confirm that you remembered correctly; mercury was the treatment of choice for syphilis from about 1500 to the mid 1800s. Nasty stuff -- both the infection and the treatment....

15keristars
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 8:47pm

Thanks! That was niggling the back of my mind and bugging me, just having that tiny doubt about my memory. I kept thinking "wait, no, the cure for syphilis was arsenic, or some other horrible poison, maybe?"

16vancouverdeb
kesäkuu 13, 2011, 10:54pm

11 - thanks for the list of characters! My goodness, yes, there are a lot of them! :)

17msf59
kesäkuu 14, 2011, 7:28am

Claudia- "whatRUdoin2me, Mark?" Would you expect anything less, my friend?

I will be dipping into the book today, for a quick preview.

18tangledthread
kesäkuu 14, 2011, 7:30am

Anyone else think of a recent trip through airport security when Jacob is getting off the Shenandoah?

19tangledthread
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 14, 2011, 8:13am

"#7 I wonder if the word play is on purpose? "

I am both reading and listening to the book. When listening, I notice a sense of humor in the translation parts that I didn't pick up when reading. Maybe it's the actor doing the reading that pulls it out...or maybe I was trying to hard to follow when reading and missing the nuance.

20benitastrnad
kesäkuu 14, 2011, 9:31am

#18

I didn't think of airport security but I did think of suspicion between countries when I read that passage, as in all this latest ruckus between the U. S. and Pakistan. But the security checks do find a modern day analogy with what goes on at airports. That is an interesting thought.

21ty1997
kesäkuu 14, 2011, 7:38pm

*phew* procured an available copy from CPL today in the nick of time. First group read! Not that fastest reader, but will try to keep up...we'll see how this goes!

22EBT1002
kesäkuu 14, 2011, 9:38pm

I'm a bit of a slow reader so I started Thousand Autumns last night. Around page 25, I thought "uh oh, this might be harder work than I'm up for right now," but I'm now up to page 73 and loving it. I've not read anything about this place in this time before, and the characters and setting are fascinating. I don't think I would want to live during that time, but that goes for most places in 1799.

I think the character list may be very helpful - i have been going back and forth a bit to keep track, although they are starting to "gel" as individuals with particular personalities now.

I really didn't know what to expect. I've never read David Mitchell before. So far, I'm finding this to be both a bit of a brain-stretcher and an enjoyable trip.
~Ellen

23vancouverdeb
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 15, 2011, 6:09am

Well, I'm at about page 120 or so... I plan to try to read 100 pages a day - if I can find the time. Complex book so far -but I thnk that I am learning that every character is not that important -and to just take the book as it comes. Interesting time in history. Can't wait for " Part 2" . I think that's going to be fun!

24EBT1002
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 9:44am

Is Grote reminding anyone else of Guppy from Bleak House? Maybe just the Guppy from the PBS production, but still. A delightful character.

25qebo
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 9:53am

I read the first 3 chapters / 30 pages yesterday just to get started. I printed the character list, and I'm finding it helpful to have the brief descriptions right there for reference instead of having to scribble and decipher myself. In general I dislike rapid introduction of lots of characters because it's not certain which ones will matter as the story progresses.

26tangledthread
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 11:22am

>24 EBT1002: "Is Grote reminding anyone else of Guppy from Bleak House?"

I hadn't thought of Guppy....but he does remind me of a Dickens character.

The scene in Chapter 6 with Jacob meeting Miss Abigawa in Dr. Marinus' surgery reminds me of Shakespeare's humor. So much dialogue and word play...it's almost like watching it on the stage.

27Carmenere
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 15, 2011, 12:25pm

Hey, hey, found the thread, Mark. I see I'm not all that far behind so i'm gonna attempt it along w/my TIOLI's. In my dreams I'm a reading machine.

28richardderus
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 12:07pm

And the smoke-blowing scene...!

29keristars
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 12:12pm

28> That was hilarious! Painful, but hilarious! I think that's where I left off reading - I should really dedicate a couple hours to it today, since the smoke is so bad from the regional fires that I have no business going out and about. (southeast Georgia and northeast Florida fires are conspiring to cover the entirety of Duval county with smoke, it seems)

30tangledthread
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 1:49pm

>28 richardderus: & 29 So glad to know it's not just my twisted sense of humor.

31keristars
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 3:49pm

Oh, goodness, no! I could see it playing out as a very physical comedy that had me cringing in sympathy with Jacob, but laughing at his unfortunate predicament and the way the doctor tricked him into promising to go along with it. :)

32EBT1002
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 5:06pm

This afternoon I've been reading and found myself looking up "Karnoffel" in Wickipedia. I think Mitchell did a wonderful job of intertwining the conversation (and Jacob's subterfuge) with play of the card game, which seems to be historically quite accurate. Loved this scene.

33msf59
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 6:15pm

I'm reading about 40 pages a day, which really works well for me. I'm about 90 pages in. There are some slow spots but when Mitchell is on, he REALLY kicks butt. His descriptions and use of language is truly astonishing.
I love the blossoming relationship between Jacob and Aibagawa. can't get enough of that.

Lynda- "In my dreams I'm a reading machine." LOL! Don't we all?

34benitastrnad
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 7:32pm

I'm a little farther along in the book, (but am taking time off to complete my other timed read - Cafe on the Nile) and can say that the characters develop more as the book goes along. This helps to distinguish them and makes it easier to keep them straight.

At first I couldn't decide if Jacob was a prude about the cheating going on with the Dutch East India company and its employees or if he is just trying to ingratiate himself with his superiors. Both of these would cause him problems with his fellows, adn I kept thinking of the teacher's pet. Then I decided that I was misreading him and that he has integrity. I made the same mistake that Dr. Marinus made. Marinus is one of the more interesting characters in this book.

I also thought it was interesting that in this time period the Japanese know themselves to be medically backward and that Marinus' skill is greatly desired. Nowadays we tend to think that the Eastern medicine might be equal to western medicine in many ways. Clearly, according to Mitchell, that was not the case in 1800.

35msf59
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 7:32pm

"The cogs and levers of time swell and buckle in the heat. In the stewed gloom, Jacob hears, almost, the sugar in its crates hissing into fused lumps."

"...a hunchback dwarf stands silhouetted in the white glare of Bony Alley."

"Night insects trill, tick, bore, ring, drill, prick, saw, sting..."

There are so many gems here...almost a smorgasbord of words!

36EBT1002
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 8:43pm

#35 -- I also loved that first quote. It's one that I marked in my copy - and I don't do much marking.

This is the first thing by Mitchell that I've read; if the rest of this book is as good as the first 100 pages, I will be trying at least one of his others.

37msf59
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 8:47pm

Ellen- Cloud Atlas, my first and only Mitchell, is an absolute mind-blower! Glad you are enjoying this.

38EBT1002
kesäkuu 15, 2011, 8:52pm

Okay, Cloud Atlas goes on my wish list.

39mollygrace
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 1:09am

Tonight I came across Vladimir Nabokov's advice to readers to "notice and fondle the details." I read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet almost a year ago and I remember distinctly that it took quite a while to read it because there were so many details that needed fondling.

What is that thing Mitchell does? (I apologize for not knowing the literary terms for what I'm about to talk about.) That thing where you have a "stack" of one or two line paragraphs (?) and they come at you in a rush -- like a waterfall or a rain shower and they're so evocative and amazing -- wordplay and dialogue and details to fondle and sounds and descriptions -- all of a piece yet all separate and distinct. What is that? Does it have a name? And does the author do this in his other books, too?

Someone asked if you had to get to know all those characters. The first time I read this I was so entranced by Jacob and Ogawa and Orito and Marinus that I sort of gave short shrift to many of the other, seemingly lesser characters -- but it's like that old theater adage: no small parts. Mitchell creates such an intrricate, intimate world and if you want the full experience you really do have to pay attention to all the parts. Notice and fondle.

I am a day late getting underway -- life, that troublesome old thing -- intervenes. I probably won't be able to keep up the pace, but I will trail along behind, panting and happy, as Nabokov says. He also reminds us that a good reader is a rereader, so that inspires me, too. But I will be keeping up with what the group is posting -- I am so interested in reading what everyone else has to say.

Here's Nabokov:

http://johnbakersblog.co.uk/the-panting-and-happy-reader/

40tangledthread
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 8:33am

#34.. re: your reflections on Jacob: I think that's the genius of Mitchells character creations, it's almost like meeting real people. It takes a while to suss them out and they are complex beings with complex motivations. Yes, Jacob has integrity and yet he is clearly breaking the law with his hidden psalter. I like the way Mitchell is showing us Jacob's attachment to Anna back home and his fascination of Aibigawa.

I'm still not settled with the medical training....and they are called seminarians in the book, which today has a religious connotation. And yet from the outset of the book, the Japanese clearly do not want to be polluted by western religion. In the very first chapter (p. 4), Orito says "My father ....." two times. I'm not clear if she is referring to her biological father or if she is referring to Marinus, her teacher, as one would refer to a priest in Catholicism.
Can anyone enlighten me.....am I onto a subplot or chasing a wild hare?

41billiejean
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 9:31am

#39 "no small parts" -- I like that. And that makes it exciting. :)

42EBT1002
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 11:29am

Yes, about the "no small parts." And the cascade of dialogue and action on the part of characters, with additional details from the background (a cow mooing, a laborer dropping something heavy) is just amazing. Other writers do *a little* of this but in this book it's Mitchell's primary rhythm. I love it. This is indeed a book to be fondled.

43Morphidae
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 11:51am

This is indeed a book to be fondled.

Get a room!

44mollygrace
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 12:32pm

#42 EBT1002 -- "cascade" -- I like that. Those cascades seem like poetry to me.

#43 Morphidae -- Wish I could afford it. Mitchell's book and me and room service -- sounds like heaven.

45EBT1002
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 1:11pm

#43 and #44 -- LOL -- I truly did not mean anything untoward by my comment. I was just quoting Nabokov! Still, since this is not supposed to be X-rated, perhaps I should have said "savored." But I appreciate your support, Molly, and adding room service to the metaphor does, er, flesh it out a bit!

Okay, enough of that.

I'll be on a plane later today for several hours and expect to spend most of the time engrossed in this book. Almost as heavenly as the room.

46alcottacre
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 6:50pm

#45: I hope you have a great plane trip, Ellen, with no crying babies or nosy seatmates!

47msf59
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 7:07pm

"Crumbling, burning, and freezing, Jacob retreats, but the garden has quadrupled in length, and it may take a Wandering Jew's eternity before he reaches the cucumbers, where he kneels behind a screen of dock leaves; where the snail on the pail flexes its stumpy horns;"

I'm really enjoying this book. Mitchell forces the reader to pay attention and I admire that, plus how can you miss out on all these juicy plums?
I loved both, the "Karnoffel" card game and the billiards showdown and like Ellen mentioned, how Mitchell inter-weaves the conversations into the games is priceless.
I appreciate all the excellent comments and please fondle away!

48vancouverdeb
kesäkuu 16, 2011, 9:29pm

@43 LOL!!! :)

49vancouverdeb
kesäkuu 17, 2011, 7:02am

I'm just a few pages from Book Two - can't wait to see what happens next! Mitchell really knows how to spin a yarn!

50EBT1002
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 1:53am

Have started book two. What a wonderful shift in focus, setting, and (to some degree) tone. I'm enjoying getting to know Orito as we got to know Jacob in book one.

BTW, I'm assuming we're trying to avoid spoilers. It feels like we're being pretty respectful of others who may not be as far along in the novel ~~ commenting on what we're reading without giving anything substantive away. I like that.

I'm also enjoying reading others' comments, and thinking about what I might comment upon. It is actually giving a little more depth to my reading. How cool is that.

#46 - the plane ride was fine. I got less reading done than I had hoped but that's just because I got sleepy. No obnoxious neighborly conversations that I couldn't block out. ;-)

51alcottacre
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 3:12am

#50: No obnoxious neighborly conversations that I couldn't block out.

Well, that is good!

52vancouverdeb
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 4:15am

From 42 - Orito says "My father ....." two times. I'm not clear if she is referring to her biological father or if she is referring to Marinus, her teacher, as one would refer to a priest in Catholicism.

I'm a bit confused by that too. Does anyone have an answer? I'm in book two - great reading! :)

53tangledthread
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 9:31am

Am also onto book two and I've concluded that Mitchell is one heck of a story teller. I love the segments where Orito gets some of the other sisters to tell their stories: Yayoi in Ch. 17 and Housekeeper Satsuki in Ch. 19, then the story Hatsune tells. They are like stories within stories...

p. 244 "The belly craves food.......the tongue craves water, the heart craves love, and the mind craves stories."

And then the completely different kind of story with Marinus removing the kidney stone. Thank heavens for modern lithotripsy!!!

54qebo
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 10:00am

I finished Part One this morning, am looking forward to another POV in Part Two.

26 (tanglewood): So much dialogue and word play...it's almost like watching it on the stage. Yes, this is my impression also. The present tense does it too. I feel somewhat as if I'm reading a play.

55keristars
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 5:17pm

I also just finished Part One this morning! Well, it was still morning in PDT, which seems to be how my internal clock runs, rather than EDT.

I was somehow completely unsurprised about Vorstenborsch and Jacob's statuses at the end of Part One. I don't know if it's the Forces of Literary Narrative or whatever it is that Pratchett calls it in the Witches books, or if it was just the inevitable according to cynical views, but all I could think was "I knew it!" I'm also looking forward to the POV change, which will maybe have a different way of looking at the world. I love it when authors manage to present different worldviews in the same book through differing povs, and it sounds like Mitchell has done that plenty. :)

56vancouverdeb
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 5:33pm

I'm really enjoying Part Two! What a ride!:) Mitchell is a great story teller.

57msf59
kesäkuu 18, 2011, 5:49pm

"A song thrush in a mountain ash speaks of endings."

I also started Book 2, with the shift in focus and finished Chapter 13. I'm curious where this entrancing story is heading.

I'll post Week 2 tomorrow, for all you speedsters.

58labfs39
kesäkuu 19, 2011, 12:35am

I'm a bit behind, but here are a couple of juicy bits I've been fondling ;-)

Jacob finds himself as little able to evade the man's gaze as a book can, of its own volition, evade the scrutiny of a reader.

The cogs and levers of time swell and buckle in the heat.


59Smiler69
kesäkuu 19, 2011, 12:42am

#57 Thanks Mark, I've read (or listened, in this case) myself out of this thread since I'm not at chapter 22 and can't safely comment here without inadvertently giving anything away.

All I can say is it keeps getting better and better.

60msf59
kesäkuu 19, 2011, 8:06am

Here's is the new Thread: Week 2

I'll be finishing up the 1st part today and start the 2nd part on Tuesday. That's the plan anyway. And yes, I'm loving it.

61EBT1002
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 19, 2011, 10:36am

Even a sentence as simple as:

"Uzaemon orders himself to say nothing."

is perfect for the moment. That's it. The whole paragraph. And it utterly captures Uzaemon's internal struggle and the political context in which he is living and working. Stunning.

62benitastrnad
kesäkuu 19, 2011, 10:20pm

#52

I too was a bit confused by the "my father" references since she is clearly not talking about her biological father. I think it must be a term of respect for Marinus since he so completely took her under his wing. He didn't treat her any differently than he did his male seminarians and she loved and respected him for that. I also think that there was a mutual respect between the teacher and the student because on more than one occasion Marinus tells Jacob that Orito has more talent than any of the other students. Marinus also clearly understands that there are some insurmountable cultural divides in both directions and regrets that she will not be able to overcome them.

63labfs39
kesäkuu 20, 2011, 4:06pm

#40, 52, 62 From 42 - Orito says "My father ....." two times. I'm not clear if she is referring to her biological father or if she is referring to Marinus, her teacher, as one would refer to a priest in Catholicism.

Actually I believe Orito is referring to her natural father, Dr. Aibagawa. In the first sentence: "My father told me..." Dr. Aibagawa would have known that Dr. Uragami was assigned to the case and had deserted the poor woman, and would likely have shared that information with his beloved daughter, the midwife.

And when Orito says "my father and I are both deeply honoured by your trust," it would have been improper for Orito to say "I am honored for your trust" to a foreign man. Plus Dr. Maeno would most likely have asked Orito's father if she could assist in the birth, hence "my father and I".

The Scottish doctor referred to by Dr. Maeno would be Dr. William Smellie, author of the anatomy book they are using.

I think it is confusing because of all the doctors, both present and not. Personally I did not see any religious overtones in this part. Seminarians can also imply those who attend seminars, just as the young men and one woman who attend Dr. Marinus's seminars.

My impressions anyways!

64labfs39
kesäkuu 20, 2011, 4:13pm

#12 Yikes! All those characters???

I think the author actually gives the reader a clue as to how to approach the number of characters. On p. 23 of my copy (chapter 3), Van Cleef is introducing Jacob around and says "Don't fret if you forget these names: once the Shenandoah departs, we'll have a tedious eternity in which to learn all about one another." And I think that does happen. As Jacob passes his days on Dejima, we hear little stories and vignettes about each character until they do start to sort themselves out, at least in my mind.

65tangledthread
kesäkuu 20, 2011, 5:03pm

#63.....that makes sense. The number of doctors referenced in that first chapter had me confused. I went back to it once we began to learn more about Orito and became even more confused in the re-reading.

Also...thanks for pulling that clue from p. 23. (message 64)

66qebo
kesäkuu 20, 2011, 5:54pm

64: I've found the character list helpful. Left to my own devices, I'd probably not think to create such a thing until I was hopelessly lost and disinclined to sift through all those pages again, but with it right there for reference I've taken a moment with each new character to register the name and context, which is enough to recognize a name when it reappears, and to begin attaching details to it, though I'm sure I'm not catching everything.

67labfs39
kesäkuu 20, 2011, 6:09pm

#64 I'm the type of reader that likes character lists too. I have an extensive one for One Hundred Years of Solitude, for example. I just thought that perhaps Mitchell was being sly and giving us a pep talk with that line. I wouldn't put it past him!

68vancouverdeb
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 21, 2011, 12:21am

I'm the sort that really finds character lists very usefull . I've referred to the list provided many times. For me, it's been a real help! Thanks again to 11 - Tangled Threads.. I'm into book three -and nearing the end -thanks to the character list. :)

69Morphidae
kesäkuu 21, 2011, 7:01am

I guess I'm lucky in that I remember all the characters without referring to a list. About the only book that has given me a character name problem is Anna Karenina since there are many nicknames for the same person.

70billiejean
kesäkuu 22, 2011, 8:06pm

I also loved the shift in point of view following Orito. She is a fascinating character. Also, I like the interpreter angle as my older daughter is interested in being a translator. I told her I thought she would love this book.

71keristars
kesäkuu 22, 2011, 10:31pm

I'm on page 209ish (too tired to double-check), and the book is due back at the library on Sunday (I hope it's Sunday and not sooner!) - which also happens to be the last day of the FotL annual warehouse booksale, which is the "Fill a bag for $10" day. I hope I can finish it in time!

I have really loved the scenes in the shrine. It's so weird that I'm drawn to it and want to read more. It's super annoying that things keep cropping up to distract me from reading or not let me have time - for example, the wildfires in Florida and Georgia have been creating such awful smoke that I've had too much of a headache to read.

One of the things that really draws me to the shrine are the deformities of the various sisters, especially Hotaru and Asagao's, because of the way theirs affects the language, and clearly language is a huge aspect of the novel. I can't remember where it was now, but there was one scene where they were talking that really stood out to me for the language thing.

Also, the "gift" thing is really bizarre. I hope we discover Enomoto's purpose eventually, because there are too many crazy theories suggesting themselves to me.

72Smiler69
kesäkuu 23, 2011, 7:41pm

#69 I agree about Anna Karenina. I've read it several times over the years, and all those nicknames and patronyms have confused me every time. I'm due for a re-read soon, maybe I'll finally keep them all straight?!

73bohemima
kesäkuu 23, 2011, 8:32pm

If you've read Cloud Atlas, have you noticed that there is a similarity to the, oh I don't have the book...the place where the people worked in a mall and it was kind of like an extremely odd version of McDonald's? I mean the part where the people were completely deceived about what was going on, and the stuff behind the curtain, as it were, was extremely creepy?

74labfs39
kesäkuu 23, 2011, 8:52pm

The servant/sex slave plot line and the "gift" language reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale.

75bohemima
kesäkuu 23, 2011, 10:37pm

Something I love about this book is Mitchell's lyrical--there is no other word for it--descriptions of pain. Amazingly accurate and yet beautiful about a fairly horrid subject.

76billiejean
kesäkuu 23, 2011, 10:59pm

#73 I had the same thought about Cloud Atlas -- was it Somni-451?

77bohemima
kesäkuu 27, 2011, 9:15pm

>77 bohemima:: Yes, thanks, bj, it just wouldn't come to me for a moment. I thought the historical information was very accurate and not put forward in a way that interrrupted the story.

>74 labfs39:: I've not read the Atwood book, but I know of a couple of others with similar plot devices.

What did you all think about how the book hung together? Did you find the shifts in p.o.v. and the scene shifts disturbing to reading or did you think they were handled pretty smoothly?

I really liked the book over all. Even though it seemed that I had to sort of fight my way into it--I don't think that was the fault of the book.

And of course I fell in love with Jacob. Amazing man.