I took the Kindle to New York with me in case I ended up with a lot of time to fill, but fortunately that didn't turn out to be the case so I only got through about half of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet while I was there, the rest when I got back. Being slightly perverse, for my first international holiday in four years I chose a book set where I went for my last holiday, Japan (the title being a reference to one of Japan's more florid nicknames for itself, The Land of A Thousand Autumns.) David Mitchell (the Cloud Atlas one, not the other one) is once again in a more linear (by his standards) storytelling mode although the story of a Dutch trading post at turn of the 18th/19th Century Nagasaki does go off in a number of different directions before pulling all the threads together. As usual it's quite a lyrical tale that shows Mitchell's great love for Japan, although this time looking at its history rather than its well-known modern obsession with futuristic technology. As a result it also reflects much of the Nagasaki I saw, despite taking place over 200 years before I went there - the influence of Dutch style and the fact that it was the first Japanese city to embrace Western culture (even if, in the period described in the book, it was still a very uneasy marriage with the Shogun persecuting Christians) remains a much larger part of the city's identity than the fact that it was bombed in the last century.