About the Book
This wonderfully clever debut novel (by the now fully-established David Mitchell) takes you on a roller-coaster journey of humanity through nine separate, yet interlinking characters and places.
What I think
I love books that allow you discover different countries and cultures. For that, this book is amazing! It starts out on a small island off the coast of Japan and takes us to Tokyo, Hong Kong, 'Holy Mountain', Mongolia, St. Petersburg, London, a tiny Irish island and New York. As the journey through the different cultures and minds of different people progresses you find yourself asking what it is we are looking for in life.
As a writer it is sometimes hard to find an individual 'voice' for each of your characters, but this is something that Mitchell does extremely well. At the beginning of each new chapter, each new character has a distinctly different voice. If you flicked through the book and stopped randomly on a page, you'd know immediately which character you were reading.
I loved the fact that the chapters could be standalone short stories but they were simultaneously interconnected. I found myself constantly looking for clues as to how the latest chapter would be linked to the last. If I have one negative comment, it's that some of the chapters were harder work than the others. Mitchell is obviously a very clever guy, but some of us are just not that clever. All the science was a little baffling at times, but I felt skimming some of these sections didn't detract from the overall picture.
About the Author
David Mitchell (b. 1969) is an English novelist. He obtained a degree from the University of Kent in English and American Literature followed by an M.A. in Comparative Literature.
He lived in Sicily for a year and in Japan for over eight years. He currently lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
Ghostwritten (1999), the first of his five novels, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His subsequent two novels, number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), were nominated for the Man Booker Prize. He is also the author of Black Swan Green (2006) and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010).