Fiction David Mitchell Ghostwritten

ISBN 13: 9780375724503

Ghostwritten

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9780375724503: Ghostwritten

By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas


A gallery attendant at the Hermitage. A young jazz buff in Tokyo. A crooked British lawyer in Hong Kong. A disc jockey in Manhattan. A physicist in Ireland. An elderly woman running a tea shack in rural China. A cult-controlled terrorist in Okinawa. A musician in London. A transmigrating spirit in Mongolia. What is the common thread of coincidence or destiny that connects the lives of these nine souls in nine far-flung countries, stretching across the globe from east to west? What pattern do their linked fates form through time and space?

A writer of pyrotechnic virtuosity and profound compassion, a mind to which nothing human is alien, David Mitchell spins genres, cultures, and ideas like gossamer threads around and through these nine linked stories. Many forces bind these lives, but at root all involve the same universal longing for connection and transcendence, an axis of commonality that leads in two directions—to creation and to destruction. In the end, as lives converge with a fearful symmetry, Ghostwritten comes full circle, to a point at which a familiar idea—that whether the planet is vast or small is merely a matter of perspective—strikes home with the force of a new revelation. It marks the debut of a writer of astonishing gifts.

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Review:

"What is real and what is not?" David Mitchell's Ghostwritten: A Novel in Nine Parts plays with precisely this question throughout its elaborately compartmentalized narrative. (That there are 10 chapters in this 9-part invention is just one more aspect of the author's mysterious schema.) With its multitude of voices and globe-girdling locations--Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Petersburg, London--this first novel offers readers a vertiginous, sometimes seductive, display of persona and place.

At the heart of Mitchell's book is the global extension of the postmodern city, and the networks (cultural, technological, phantasmagoric) to which it gives rise. A metropolis like Tokyo is quite literally beyond our comprehension:

Twenty million people live and work in Tokyo. It's so big that nobody really knows where it stops. It's long since filled up the plain, and now it's creeping up the mountains to the west and reclaiming land from the bay in the east. The city never stops rewriting itself. In the time one street guide is produced, it's already become out of date. It's a tall city, and a deep one, as well as a spread-out one.
At this level, urban sprawl becomes an epistemological condition. On one hand it leads to a Japanese death cult, purging the "unclean" from the city's subway with nerve gas. And on the other, it produces a certain splintering of the human personality. "I'm this person, I'm this person, I'm that person, I'm that person too," chants Neal, the narrator of the book's second part. "No wonder it's all such a ... mess." He's talking about his life as a Hong Kong trader, a "man of departments, compartments, apartments." But he might also be describing the experience of reading Ghostwritten. At once loquacious and knowing, leisurely and frantic, Mitchell offers a huge, but fragmentary, portmanteau. And while he's labored diligently to solder together the many parts--the aching bodies, the reality police, the impossibly complex machinery of contemporary life--his novel, too, may suffer from an excess of split personality. --Vicky Lebeau

From the Back Cover:

"Mitchell... has a gift for fiction's natural pleasures–intricate surprises, insidiously woven narratives, ingenious voices... "
--The New York Times Book Review

"Elegantly composed, gracefully plotted and full of humor."
--Los Angeles Times

"A brave new book for a brave new world–fueled by a brilliant imagination and buoyed by beautifully descriptive writing."
--USA Today

"[Mitchell] has a gift for fiction’s natural pleasures–intricate surprises, insidiously woven narratives, ingenious voices."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Unlike so many of the chroniclers of the 21st-century pastiche-an industry dominated by ad men and feature-writers, not novelists-Mitchell has set out to craft actual characters, not archetypes. The result is a dazzling piece of work."
--The Washington Post

"Mitchell is a sly, inventive storyteller–and anything but predictable... Inventive and mind-provoking."
--Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"Ghostwritten is also elegantly composed, gracefully plotted and full of humor... [It] recall[s] Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in its emotional scope and its ambitions. Like the great Russians, Mitchell makes us feel that more is at stake than individual lives, although it’s by individual lives that pain and loss are measured."
--Los Angeles Times

"Mitchell deftly sketches each character to such a compelling extent that you become totally immersed... His nine characters and their random but fateful interactions provide a playful, suspenseful foray into our ever-shrinking world."
--Entertainment Weekly

"Nine tales set in nine countries are intricately woven together in this impressive debut novel."
--Talk

"An intricately assembled Faberge egg of a novel, full of sly and sometimes beautiful surprises... In an era in which much literary fiction is characterized by unearned ironies and glib cynicism, it's hard not to be impressed by the humanism that animates Mitchell's book... Worth a dozen of the morally anorexic novels that regularly come down the pipe."
--New York

"Gripping and innovative... [Ghostwritten] serve[s] to illustrate the strange interconnectivity of the modern world and the improvisatory nature of fate."
--The New York Times

"Mitchell has written a testament to just how far a little nerve, a lot of talent, and an airplane will take you... A novel that wends from Okinawa to Mongolia to Petersburg, as well as visiting the more traditional literary haunts of London and New York, has to be commended for its geographical audacity alone."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A daring novel, uniquely structured and just as uniquely compelling."
--The Denver Post

"Ghostwritten is a marvelous puzzle. It takes time to figure together the disparate pieces, but patience in this case pays off handsomely. Once assembled, the story hums with significance... [An] amazing first novel."
--The New York Observer

"David Mitchell's first novel is a firework display... The assurance and panache are truly remarkable... This is a remarkable novel by a young writer of remarkable talent."
--The Observer (London)

"[Mitchell's] detail boasts the quiet and proud precision which makes his Englishness no surprise."
--The Seattle Times

"This is one of the best first novels I’ve read for a long time... I read a proof of this on a transatlantic flight. When I got off in Atlanta, I couldn't put it down. I pulled my luggage in one hand along corridors and escalators, and held David Mitchell's last chapter up to my nose with the other. I finished at the carousel. It seemed appropriate. And it's even better the second time."
--A. S. Byatt

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