A Thousand Falls . . .
A couple of years ago, I read a review of David Mitchell's Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and asked myself, "A Writer I Ought to Read?" Convinced that the answer should be affirmative, I did read, but I started with his earlier works and read my way up to the reviewed novel above, which I bought for myself Saturday afternoon during my late-stage Christmas shopping. Based on my experience reading his other works, I'm very much looking forward to this, albeit with some trepidation after reading the second paragraph of the "author's note":
Throughout the novel, the lunar calendar is used to denote Japanese dates. The lunar calendar could be anything from three to seven weeks "behind" the Gregorian calendar, depending on the year. Thus "the First Day of the First Month" corresponds not to January 1 but to a varying date between the back end of January and the rear middle of February. Years are referred to by their Japanese era names.This means that I'm never really going to know what time it is -- not that anyone else really cares, least of all at twenty-five or -six to four as I type these words -- but which can be an annoyance for a precise sort of fellow such as myself. I know, however, from my above-noted experience, that the extra trouble will be repaid in literary pleasure, so I'll forge ahead. Besides, since Mitchell does provide the Western year in which the story begins, there's likely a record online giving equivalent dates in the West's Gregorian and the Japanese lunar calendars.
Speaking of Mitchell, I am awaiting a nearby showing of Cloud Atlas in Seoul, whenever that might be . . .