World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Article Id: WHEBN0026839511
Reproduction Date:

Title: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Walter Scott Prize, Plantation Estate, Dejima, 2010 in literature, Nagasaki
Collection: 1799 in Fiction, 2010 Novels, Historical Novels, Novels by David Mitchell, Novels Set in Japan, Sceptre (Imprint) Books
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
First edition
Author David Mitchell
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Drama
Publisher Sceptre
Publication date
13 May 2010
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 480
Preceded by Black Swan Green
Followed by The Bone Clocks

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the fifth novel by David Mitchell.[1] It is a historical novel set during the Dutch trading concession with Japan in the late 18th century, during the period of Japanese history known as Sakoku.


  • Plot 1
  • Development 2
  • Awards and nominations 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The novel begins in the summer of 1799 at the Dutch East India Company trading post Dejima in the harbor of Nagasaki. It tells the story of a Dutch trader's love for a Japanese midwife who is spirited away into a sinister mountain temple cult.


Mitchell spent four years working on the novel, researching and crafting a vision of 18th century Japan.[1] Small details, such as if people used shaving cream or not, could use up lots of time so that a single sentence could take half a day to write. "It was tough," Mitchell said. "It almost finished me off before I finished it off." [1]

The origins of the novel can be found in 1994 when Mitchell was backpacking in western Japan while on a teaching trip.[1] He had been looking for a cheap lunch in Nagasaki and came upon the Dejima museum. "I never did get the lunch that day," Mitchell said, "but I filled a notebook with information about this place I'd never heard of and resolved one day to write about it."[1]

Some of the events depicted in the novel are based on real history, such as the HMS Phaeton's bombardment of Dejima and subsequent ritual suicide of Nagasaki's Magistrate Matsudaira.[2] The main character, Jacob de Zoet, bears some resemblance to the real-life Hendrik Doeff, who wrote a memoir about his time in Dejima.[3]

Late in the book, "land of a thousand autumns" is described as one of the names used by the Japanese for Japan.[4]

Awards and nominations

The novel won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize regional prize (South Asia and Europe); was long listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, was one of Time Magazine's "Best Books of the Year" (#4 Fiction),[5] and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.[6] It was shortlisted for the 2011 Walter Scott Prize.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "How David Mitchell Brings Historical Fiction To Life", NPR, Weekend Edition Saturday, August 21, 2010
  2. ^ Tonkin, Boyd (2010-05-07). "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, By David Mitchell - Books, Life & Style".  
  3. ^ Borghino, Jose (2010-05-29). "History and narrative gloriously entwined".  
  4. ^ "maryb". "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell (review)". Alone with each other ... Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  5. ^ The Top 10 Everything of 2010, Time Magazine, 2010
  6. ^ 100 Notable Books of 2010, New York Times, Nov 24, 2010
  7. ^ "Walter Scott historical fiction shortlist announced". BBC news. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 12 Jun 2011. 

External links

  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet at complete review (aggregation of reviews)
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de ZoetList of characters in
  • on Lit ReactThe Thousand Autumns of Jacob de ZoetAnalysis of
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.