David Mitchell, about The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (author of Cloud Atlas)

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David Mitchell, about The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (author of Cloud Atlas)

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Apr 29, 2010, 5:04 pm

I'll be interviewing David Mitchell about his new book The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, for the July State of the Thing. Post your questions here, before July 1.

May 15, 2010, 3:14 pm

I'm reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet now, and it seems like, in subject, tone and character, that I'm reading the sequel to Amitav Ghosh's 'Sea of Poppies'. Did you read 'Sea of Poppies'? What books, movies and music are you a fan of lately? (Sonya: This last question could apply to any writer. I always like to know what books, movies, music, etc, a writer likes. Also, why don't I get the 'State of the Thing' newsletter?!)

May 17, 2010, 11:44 am

Hi David. Loved the book, absolutely, and I want to know where you got the idea for the "engifting" religious order. Did you make it up, or is it based on something historically real?

May 19, 2010, 4:58 pm

Mr. Mitchell, I have not had the pleasure of "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" yet, although I fervently hoped for a review copy. How very different Black Swan Green is from Cloud Atlas! I loved them both and think you're definitely among the finest living writers. Thanks for the hours of fun and edification.

(Okay, time to stop gushing.)

May 21, 2010, 10:46 am

What books are on your reading list - either as recently read, or to be read?

When did you first visit Japan, and what about Asia do you find so inspiring for your books?

May 23, 2010, 2:48 pm

I was going to ask that too, quinnsmom! Just got to the engifting part yesterday. I'm wondering if there is really a poison that remains dormant just as long as you take the antidote every day...

Edited: Jun 14, 2010, 1:17 pm

You were in The Netherlands to research The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, do you think that the seventeenth century Dutch as you found them in your research were very different from the Dutch now? Is there such a thing as Dutchness? Why do you think it is that the Dutch used to travel the world in search of opportunity, whereas now they seem to be afraid of everything foreign and strange?

Jun 19, 2010, 1:37 pm

Hi David, As a writer who has lived and worked in Japan at different times in your life, please could you talk a little more about your experiences in Japan and the impact that this has had on your writing? As well as your books, I absolutely unashamedly loved your essay "Bold Type" about writing and Japan - it resonated a lot for me and it's because of these twin obsessions I was originally turned onto your work. I only spent a month in Japan, but experienced the same sense of alienation and its relation to writing, and came back convinced that all writers are Gaijin (lit. 'outside person') :D All the best, James