Review: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

As I’ve mentioned before (in great detail), I loathe the term “literary fiction”—semantically, it’s meaningless, and I’ve never seen it used in a way that didn’t denigrate “genre fiction” as unworthy of study or love. (Or both, in my case, since the two practices generally conflate for me.) However, what it’s supposed to denote—fiction focused on the internal lives of its characters more so than their external lives—is particularly useful when stepping back from The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. There’s plenty of movement and action, but its true interest is in the emotional lives of its characters.

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