Posts Tagged ‘ David Mitchell ’

Lone Wolf and Cub

David Mitchell on the historical setting of Jacob de Zoet:

Did you watch a lot of Kurosawa films?

Some, yes. Actually, it would be manga, though. There’s an absolutely wonderful series of stories called Lone Wolf and Cub. It’s about 100 years earlier than my period. Visually, you get the interiors that no amount of scholarly research can give. What authenticity my book might be able to boast owes a great debt to Lone Wolf and Cub. You really should check them out. They really are special—though there’s a necessary quota of what we might think of as something close to soft-core porn.

Q&A with David Mitchell, Literary Platypus : Lone Wolf and Cub


Hendrik Doeff

Hendrik Doeff (2 December 1764 – 19 October 1837) VOC Opperhoofd (Chief) in Dejima from 14 november1803 umtil 6 december 1817.


From The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet, chapter 2: Anchored in Nagasaki Harbour. Evening of the 20th of July, 1799

Dominating the shorefront is his home for the next year: Desjima, a high walled, fan-shaped artificial island, some two hundered paces along its outer curve, Jacob estimates, by eighty paces deep, and erected, like much of Amsterdam, on sunken piles. Sketching the trading factory from the Shinandoah’s foremast during the week gone, he counted some twenty-five roofs: the numbered warehouses of Japanese merchants; the Chief’s and the Captain’s Residences; the Deputy’s house, on whose roof perches the Watchtower; the Guild of Interpreters; a small hospital. Of the four Dutch warehouses, The Roos, the Lelie, the Doorn and the Eik, only the last two survived what Vorstenbosch is calling ‘Snitker’s Fire’. Warehouse Lelie is being rebuilt, but the incinerated Roos must wait until the factory’s debts are in better order. The land-Gate connects Dejima to the shore by a single-span stone bridge over a moat of tidal mud; the Sea-Gate, at the top of a short ramp where the Company sampans are loaded an unloaded, is opened only during trading season. Attached is a Customs House, where all Dutchmen except Chief Resident and the Captain searched for prohibited items.

A list at whose head, Jacob things, is ‘Christian Artifacts’ …

He returns to his sketch and sets about shading the sea with charcoal.

Curious, the oarsmen lean over; Jacob shows the the page:

The older oarsman makes a face to say, Not bad.

A shout from a guard-boat startles the pair: they return to their posts.

Black Swan Green on Top Of The Pops


Black Swan Green by David Mitchell describes 13 months in the life of the teenager Jason Taylor, who (of course) watches Top Of The Pops every Thursday.

More about the music in Black Swan Green here: