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The Ten Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Rain hisses like swinging snakes and gutters gurgle. Orito watches a vein pulsating in Yayoi’s throat. The belly craves food, she thinks, the tongue craves water, the heart craves love, and the mind craves stories. It is stories, she believes, that make life in the House of Sisters tolerable, stories in all their forms: the gifts’ letters, tittle-tattle, recollections, and tall tales like Hatsune’s singing skull. She thinks of myths of gods, of Izanami and Izanagi, of Buddha and Jesus, and perhaps the Goddess of Mount Shiranui, and wonders whether the same principle is not at work. Orito pictures the human mind as a loom that weaves disparate threads of belief, memory, and narrative into an entity whose common name is Self, and which sometimes calls itself Perception.

Jacob de Zoet

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