The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet tells you about the mystique of Japan, of the way past their heyday Dutch and their dwindling empire, but mostly of Jacob de Zoet. Of a shopkeeper on the island of Dejima in front of the early 19th century Nagasaki coast.
As much as I liked the book because of its historic value, I loved it so much more for its well written prose:
Ink, thinks Jacob, you most fecund of liquids…
Love is a thing of the heart. Or love is like this sake: drink, night of joy, yes, but in cold morning, headache, sick stomach.
To not say ‘no’, is to half say ‘yes’.
Nothing more costly than an item that has no price.
Self-pity, Orito reminds herself yet again, is a noose dangling from a rafter.
Prudishness the morning after, he must admit, is a hypocrite’s guilt.
Knowledge exists only when it is given… Like love.