David Mitchell is just showing off


Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries’ vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters’ sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes;

The above appears on page 451 of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and reading it feels like watching a runner do a victory lap before the race is over. One of the book’s major plot threads is still hanging and we impatient children are just forced to wait while he flies us over Nagasaki in verse.

It’s his world and we’re all just reading it.


One thought on “David Mitchell is just showing off

  1. Pingback: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell | baking and barre in LA

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