I just finished reading this book and it is beyond amazing. I LOVED it. Which was almost a little unexpected ... I was prepared to be disappointed by this, because I've read one other novel by this author and that book was seriously beyond brilliant. It was one of the best books I've ever read. Cloud Atlas - an absolute cornucopia of inventiveness and imagination. I don't use this word often, in fact I try to avoid it, but that book was awesome. So I was rather expecting that this newer novel ... well, not that it wouldn't be good, I thought it would be great, but I felt that the author had set the bar so high for himself that he wouldn't be able to reach those grand heights again. And maybe he didn't, but ... this book is so different that it hardly even compares. It's wonderful, it's an experience. I can't recommend it highly enough.
And I can hardly say anything about the plot, either ... it's set in Japan in the years around 1800, most of the story takes place at a Dutch trading station in Nagasaki. It's all fascinating. If I start telling you about it, I don't know when I'd ever stop. :-)
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell.