The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, By David Mitchell

That's rather too much information thank you, David
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Oh, that Jacob de Zoet had had only one autumn. I may be drummed out of the reviewers' union for challenging the critical consensus that has settled on Mitchell, but while I admire the amount of research and attention to detail in this tale of forbidden love in 18th-century Japan, it's precisely that research and detail that causes me problems.

By the end, I still wasn't sure what Jacob de Zoet's job actually was, the other characters involved in what seemed to be trade and excise were interchangeable, and sentences were so clogged with information that even shortening them into single paragraphs didn't help. Midwife Orito Aibagawa's incarceration in a nunnery/ brothel is the most interesting part of this tale, but comes far too late.