The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet: David Mitchell
David Mitchell's earlier novels are great fun but they do rather leave you wondering who Mitchell is when he's at home. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet answers that question, I think. There's still plenty of messing about with genres- here's Kurosawa, there's Lafcadio Hearn; here's a bit of Dungeons and Dragons and- look- it's Stevenson, Forester, O'Brian and Golding being all salty together on the poop deck- but now the over-riding impression is of the strength- and individuality- of the controlling hand. This isn't just a master of pastiche, this is someone with something of his own to say and a style of his own to say it in. Mitchell's signature work is Cloud Atlas- and probably always will be because it's just so clever- but this is the first book of his artistic maturity.