by David Mitchell (1999)
David Mitchell entered my life with one of my favorite novels ever, Cloud Atlas. I decided to visit his first novel, Ghostwritten a few weeks ago and found the beginnings of genius, but unlike Atlas, it’s a slow, sometimes confusing process to make it through this dense, story-hopping book that begins with a Tokyo subway attack and ends with the end of the world narrowly diverted. The stories in between are loosely connected, a style he has made his own and some are more compelling than others.
It’s hard to say exactly what it’s all “about” though there are clearly themes like individuals versus the masses, whether it be a corporation, a cult, or the government, human accountability, and ghosts of many kinds. Somehow though, in it’s ambition and global sweep, the novel is a bit dry and passionless. While it’s certainly worth a read with many memorable elements, he perfects the balance of mind and heart with his later works. (i.e. read Cloud Atlas if you haven’t yet).