David Mitchell’s brilliant debut novel, Ghostwritten, is a mesmerizing journey across space and time — an adventure that spans the globe and is told by nine different characters each in their own voice.
At first, I was overwhelmed with the depth of the story — trying to figure everything out, but when I relaxed and focused on the telling — well, I was hooked!
Mitchell’s language is beautiful, his characters compelling and the story is a wild ride. This book, subtitled “A novel in nine parts” is narrated in turn by an Okinawan cult-member turned terrorist, a music aficionado in Tokyo; an unscrupulous lawyer working in Hong Kong; an ancient Chinese woman tea shop owner; a disembodied spirit in Mongolia; a beautiful Russian art thief; a writer from London; a brilliant Irish physicist; and a late-night radio talk show host in New York. The author effortlessly connects these narratives through coincidences and chance encounters much like an accomplished juggler deftly adds odd objects to his collection of moving balls without missing a beat.
Reading Ghostwritten was akin to having a vivid, otherworldly dream — the kind that dissipates into a mist upon awakening leaving only wispy impressions of its meaning. A book that invites you to read it again and yet again, each time discovering some new truth.
I recommend this book to book clubs and anyone who enjoys a convoluted, layered tale whose theme is open to interpretation. There is a lot to talk about in this book.