Wednesday, January 20, 2016

GHOSTWRITTEN






Ghostwritten, David Mitchell, Random House, 1999, 426 pp
Every year between Christmas and New Year's Day, I choose one author whose unread books I want to complete. I attempt to read as many of those as I can in one week. This year my author was David Mitchell. I had only read Cloud Atlas and it was a tough read for me so I decided to see if I could crack Mitchell's code by reading his novels in order of publication.

He has published seven books, so it was unlikely I would get through all of them. I managed to read the first three and I did crack the code, at least for myself. I had come across some reviews that mentioned how characters from earlier books show up in later ones. Intrigued by such a concept, I decided to take notes and keep track because this literary puzzle appealed to me.

Ghostwritten is his first novel. From Okinawa, Japan, to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Mongolia to Saint Petersburg to London to Ireland to New York and back to Okinawa, characters appear, re-appear, or migrate to new bodies. Their stories intertwine in various ways. The construction is like a kaleidoscope or a prayer wheel. Each person, for good or for evil, encompasses a universe of hopes, dreams, success, failure, and redemption or karma.

I know this sounds a bit presumptuous, but as I read I felt surges of love for my fellowman and an increased awareness of how we are all connected. I found myself wondering how often I interact with another person and we are influencing the course of each other's lives in ways we will never know.

I finished the book rather in awe of how much David Mitchell must have had to hold in his mind to construct such a story. Even more that that, I felt at home with a worldview that seemed familiar because I hold a similar one.

For the last year or so I have been reading and rereading the chapters of Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching as a daily meditation. I wonder if David Mitchell reads it also.


(Ghostwritten is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

9 comments:

  1. That's exactly how I felt after watching the adaptation of Cloud Atlas. Now I have to summon the courage to read the novel. Mitchell is one of those authors I would like to read their whole body of work.

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    1. I fully intend to read the remaining four books this year. And having seen the Cloud Atlas movie, rereading the book was a much improved experience.

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  2. Another writer that I haven't read, but I'll get to him one of these days. It sounds like Ghostwritten is the place to start.

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  3. Welcome back Judy. Hope you get over your cold. Mitchell sounds impressive. I have not delved into his books yet (or the movie), but I like his train of thought. Did you like the movie? I like his interconnectedness theme.

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    1. I have seen the movie of Cloud Atlas and in fact it helped me understand the book better. Now I have also reread Cloud Atlas and a review of my reread is coming soon.

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  4. Welcome back dear Judy ;-) Didn't know this author, David Mitchell...lovely book review!

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    1. Thank you so much!

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    2. Have a wonderful weekend dear ;-)

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