The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
Jacob Z is a low level Dutch clerk who has just landed on the Dutch occupied spit of land just off Nagasaki from which trading enterprises with Imperial Japan are conducted. The dutch are the only country allowed to trade with Japan for decades and this is the only allowed port. Dutchmen (there are no women present) are only allowed to visit the mainland under heavy supervision. Jacob Z rises in prominence, discovers corruption, falls in love, and meets a powerful mentor. Time passes. The intrigues of the local warlords get complicated. Samauri are involved!
The prose is beautiful. It’s David Mitchell. We get a couple of dizzying perspective shifts and a few abrupt time lapses. The result is an epic, beautiful pastiche of a few lives in a strange place with a few hints of magic. Terrific work.
Perhaps my favorite of the Mitchell books. Perhaps.