The book overall was excellent, the problem was they were too cheap to hire narrators to read the Japanese parts, sounded terrible especially the womens roles, thick English accent for a young Japanese girl.... crazy.
I want to like this book, but the narration is proving very difficult to follow. The way the character names are pronounced makes it hard for me to visualize them, and thus, to keep them straight. When does the real story begin?
I struggled to finish this one. First all the characters sounded English. The Dutch, the Japanese (sometimes they had a little accent). Oh, the Prusian did sound Prusian but that was it. Part 1 I couldn't even see a story. Part 2 I started to follow it. I thought, ok, a nice little love story, but that ended and Part 2 embarked on a different stoy that also went nowhere. Then it wraps up in the last 2-5 minutes and not very satifactory.
This book was not at all what I thought it was going to be. I started listening to it on the ride home from dropping my son at college, and just couldn't get into it. I loved The Tales of the Otari, and thought it was going to be like that. I was very wrong. I did decide to give it a second try and was I glad I did. I became mesmerized by the story and really started to care about the characters.
I thought the narration was great.
It is one of those stories though, where a minor character occasionally tells or shares his or her own story which does nothing to really further the plot. In the end, it is a simple story of a truly honorable man, and scattered throughout are acts of faith, courage, and love.
A good narrative with many fascinating moments--and very well read! But, as often seems to happen with authors who have acquired sufficient reputation and recognition, the novel needed some serious editing. There are many long, long passages that add little to the narrative and seem to speak only to Mitchell's fascination with various topics. While I appreciate his erudition and research, it often became a struggle to keep going through some of the more turgid digressions. . . Do try to hang in there, though, it is a worthwhile story overall.
I found myself utterly absorbed in this book. i felt it moved slowly for the first 1/3, but it was still absorbing--like lying by a stream. Then all of a sudden it sped up, then slowed down again, which was unexpected but by this point I loved the characters and was glad to hear more action from them. I love Orito and wish I could be friends with her.
There are definitely parts that are...for lack of a better word...gross (explicit medical descriptions) but I didn't find them so frequent as to distract from the story. I thought the narrators did a great job, and the voices they used really helped me keep characters straight.
And now it's been a few days since I finished the story...and I miss Jacob!
OK, so I didn't want to read the Steig books as my "big" summer read, so I went with the Mitchell book. The other reviewers do a good job of critically reviewing, so I am just going to go from the gut. This book is like an opera. Yes, it's good, worthy, lyric..., but can't say that I wasn't happy when it was over. I am not a fan of big, thick books unless there is a reason they need be so long. It's almost like someone gave Mitchell a thick, blank journal, and his task was to fill it. If you are looking for a good, long read, try "Cutting for Stone." It has characters, history and a story that keep thing interesting so you are just waiting for the end!
The narrators do a wonderful job with the many voices and characters, making this a much better listen than reading it alone. Great fun, and fascinating history is learned too.
I loved "Cloud Atlas" and thought it was the best book I've listened to in years. I could not wait to listen to Thousand Autumns...but perhaps this book is best read in hardcopy. I could not keep the names and characters straight. All of the names, of course, were very foreign to me - Japanese and Dutch, pronounced with an accent. I had to start over once I realized that Yakob Dessert was the title character. Duh! :-P
There were not many likable characters in this book. While I felt that Mitchell set up a very scary scenario, it fell flat after that. I was happy and relieved when the British showed up! Names I understood and could keep track of!
At the end, chunks of time passes without plot or narrative. Uh.. What happened? Nothing worthy of mentioning in 11 years? Or more?
I was disappointed, not Mitchell's best effort or the best book to hear either.