David Mitchell

Michiko KAKUTANI “Dutchman Sees Life in Japan Long Ago” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/books/29book.html

アイルランド在住の英国人作家David Mitchellの新作The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoetの書評。江戸時代(18世紀末期)の長崎出島を舞台に、和蘭人商館員Jacobと女医Oritoと和蘭通詞Uzaemonの三角関係を描く時代小説。カクタニさんはこの小説の音楽的構造(三部曲)について次のように述べている;

Over all, “The Thousand Autumns” is structured as a triptych or three-part musical composition. While the opening section, which establishes the world of Dejima and introduces the central characters, is largely static, the second movement — which recounts the abduction of Orito and her internment in a mountaintop “nunnery” run by a group of evil monks — has the frantic, staccato pacing of a thriller and the over-the-top mustache-twirlings of a silent melodrama.

We learn that the monks, under the leadership of an eminent judge named Lord Abbot Enomoto, not only use the women they’ve abducted as brood mares, but also murder their infants as offerings to a goddess in exchange for the promise of eternal life.

Mr. Mitchell is so adept at pastiche and genre writing that he succeeds in making such sensationalistic developments compelling (if never exactly plausible), even as he uses his descriptive skills to make the gothic world of the nunnery as palpable as the wheeling-dealing merchant world of Dejima.

As for the novel’s third movement, Mr. Mitchell gracefully downshifts to accommodate its melancholy mood, recounting the aftermath of Uzaemon’s daring attempt to rescue Orito, the unexpected trajectory of Jacob’s career, and the arrival of a British warship in the waters off Nagasaki.


David Mitchellのテクストは読んだことがないというか、名前すら知らなかったのだが、Claire Armitstead “The Guardian profile: David Mitchell”*1を読むと、1994年から7年間広島で英語の教師をしていて、日本人と結婚している。また、文学史的に言えば〈村上春樹的児子(女)〉のひとりであるらしい;

Japan gave him his wife, Keiko, with whom he has two children. It also gave him a freedom from the restrictions of the traditional English novel. The heady narrative trips of the 37-year-old's first three novels owe a debt to the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami (indeed the title of Mitchell's second novel, Number9Dream, is a veiled tribute to Murakami's masterpiece Norwegian Wood, in that both were named after lesser-known Beatles songs).

“Japan and my Writing” http://www.randomhouse.com/boldtype/1100/mitchell/essay.html