David Mitchell’s Mixed Reception

Best known for his 2004 breakout Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell returns with The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which is on several summer reading roundups (it’s one of five books on Time Magazine’s Summer Entertainment list, which calls the author, “The most consistently interesting novelist of his generation…”), was a BEA Librarian Shout & Share selection, as well as a July Indie Pick. As the media coverage begins, libraries we checked had enough copies to respond to the modest holds for this historical novel about a clerk for the Dutch East Indies Company’s outpost in Japan.

Following a profile in the New York Times Magazine, David Mitchell’s Genre-Bending Fiction, The Thousand Autumns rose to #32 on Amazon salea rankings and Cloud Atlas to #50.

Recently, Production Weekly reported that Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen and Natalie Portman have been offered roles in the movie of Cloud Atlas, being produced by the Wachowski brothers (the Matrix trilogy) and directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).

Entertainment Weekly gave the new book a B-:

Despite some magnificent narrative set pieces. . . .  the book feels diffuse, with too little forward momentum. Japan may be the land of one thousand autumns, but Mitchell sometimes seems intent on raking the leaves of every last one.

But Salon‘s Laura Miller was more sympathetic, deeming it

…less successful than [Mitchell’s previous novel], Black Swan Green, but eminently worth reading all the same . . . . [although] the first part, some 170-plus pages, feels like a worthy but not especially exciting historical novel.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel
David Mitchell
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-06-29)
ISBN / EAN: 1400065453 / 9781400065455

Other Major Titles on Sale Next Week

Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown) follows an investigation run by a former CIA agent.

Ice Cold: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen (Ballantine) has “the taut suspense and vivid depictions that are hallmarks of Gerritsen’s writing,” according to Library Journal, “although this one feels a bit stretched, with one too many plot twists and one too many villains.” As we mentioned earlier, cable channel TNT’s new series based on Gerritsen’s female buddies, Rizzoli & Isles, premieres on July 12.

In the Name of Honor by Richard North Patterson (Holt) is a military courtroom drama involving a lieutenant accused of murdering his commanding officer.

Inside Out by Barry Eisler (Ballantine) “drives this locomotive of a story full speed into the façade on the war on terror. . . . One sex scene fits neither the story nor the characters, and the violence may make even the most jaded reader uncomfortable, but this is a relentless and revelatory look into the human cost of those who torture on behalf of their country,” says Library Journal.

Work Song by Ivan Doig (Riverhead) was a Buzz Title at PLA, where Doig also appeared, highlighting his move to Penguin. A July Indie Pick, the novel has holds ranging from 2:1 to 4:1 in libraries we checked. Library Journal says that “Doig’s eagerly awaited sequel to The Whistling Season (2006) begins ten years later in 1919, when Morrie Morgan gets off the train in Butte, MT, “the richest hill on earth,” run by Anaconda Copper. . . . Doig delivers solid storytelling with a keen respect for the past and gives voice to his characters in a humorous and affectionate light.”

One Response to “David Mitchell’s Mixed Reception”

  1. Donoghue’s ROOM on Booker Long List | EarlyWord: The Publisher | Librarian Connection Says:

    […] Mitchell The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet has been widely reviewed in the U.S. This is the author’s third […]