My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is part of my “how to write good” series, recommended to me for the quality of the writing. It is a literary work with just a whiff of magic, not so potent to push it into the fantasy column but still a whiff.
As I read this book, I kept thinking, nothing is happening, at least nothing that should matter to me. But at the end, I teared up. Sneaky devil of an author, I walked down the the path that he constructed unaware until the end how much I would be affected.
The story is one of east meets west, culture conflicts, and moral conflicts fabricated into a study of the character of one Jacob de Zoet. It is well written but not astounding, wondrous, or even filled with memorable lines. I am better for having read it but I am hard pressed to point at something that would justify a recommendation to others. The best that I can say is that you will enjoy the book but there are a thousand other books for which I could say the same.