Number9Dream is the international literary sensation from a writer with astonishing range and imaginative energy - an intoxicating ride through Tokyo's dark underworlds....
Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you'll find the entrance to Slade House....
In 1799, the artificial island of Dejima lies in Nagasaki Harbor as Japan’s outpost for the Dutch East Indies Company....
From award-winning writer David Mitchell comes a sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood....
From the medieval Swiss Alps to the 19th-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, stories come together in moments of everyday grace....
In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre, and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us....
In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan's East Village, the Christodora....
This novel evokes the tumult, events, and iconic faces of our time as it tells the story of Logan Mountstuart—writer, lover, and man of the world—through his intimate journals....
A father and daughter try to survive the steady decline of all they know in this haunting thriller from award-winning author Ronald Malfi....
Based largely on his own childhood, Stegner has created a masterful, harrowing saga of a family trying to survive during the lean years of the early 20th century.....
In Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven, famous author Abraham Cady stands trial....
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana....
Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods live together in pleasant isolation. But one day a stranger arrives....
The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender....
In Catherine Lowell's smart and original debut novel, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt....
In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit....
Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature....
First published in 1962, this is an emotionally intense novel of love, hatred, race, and liberal America in the 1960s, taking on the then-taboo themes of interracial couples, bisexuality, and extramarital affairs....
Oblivious to the bizarre ways in which their lives intersect, nine characters - a terrorist in Okinawa, a record-shop clerk in Tokyo, a money-laundering British financier in Hong Kong, an old woman running a tea shack in China, a transmigrating "noncorpum" entity seeking a human host in Mongolia, a gallery-attendant-cum-art-thief in Petersburg, a drummer in London, a female physicist in Ireland, and a radio deejay in New York - hurtle toward a shared destiny of astonishing impact. Like the book's one non-human narrator, Mitchell latches onto his host characters and invades their lives with parasitic precision, making Ghostwritten a sprawling and brilliant literary relief map of the modern world.
I'm a bit amazed that David Mitchell was only in his late 20s when he wrote this kaleidoscopic novel, given his adeptness with language, setting, voice, and ideas. As in his more famous (and later) Cloud Atlas, Mitchell blends history, tragedy, wit, myth, metaphysics, moral questions, and consciously cinematic melodrama into a swirling literary collage.
Like Cloud Atlas, this one contains a set of loosely-linked stories that take place in different locations around the world and, in some cases, span decades of history. The protagonist of each is at some moment in his or her life when everything is about to change. There's a Japanese doomsday cultist whose conviction in his deluded belief system gives rise to disquieting, yet infecting observations about the world. There's a young, jazz-obsessed slacker working in a Tokyo record store (an obvious Murakami nod), who falls in love with a girl that happens to wander in by a chance. There's a harried 30-something British financier watching his life and his biggest deal fall apart, while convinced that his Hong Kong apartment is haunted by a ghost. There's an old Chinese woman who runs a noodle stand on a sacred mountain, and has come through much history mostly by being beneath its concern. There's a “noncorpum”, a disembodied spirit that transfers itself between human hosts and travels across Mongolia, in search of its own origins. There's a female Russian art thief, waiting for the moment to carry out a big heist, but acutely conscious of her departing youth.
Unlike Cloud Atlas, which played games with which stories were "real" (and what "real" ultimately means in the context of imaginative constructions), this book puts its characters on the same broad stage and has them crossing paths with one another. At first, the connections are fleeting, but as the book progresses, the stories and their themes intersect more and more, building towards a crescendo that includes an Irish quantum physicist trying to evade the militaristic designs of the US government, a noncorpum of another sort, and a late night radio DJ on the eve of the end of the world.
Mitchell is mad juggler of a writer, taking a collection of ideas that would be somewhat hackneyed on their own, and reconfiguring them into a grand mural in motion. Each story has its own lyrically sordid details, powerful truths, and cosmic absurdities, yet their meaning is in their connectedness. It would seem that we’re all ghosts in one another’s machines, mostly unconscious of each other, yet profoundly linked, part of the same endless universal cycle of suffering, joy, death, and rebirth.
It's not hard to see that this was Mitchell's first book. There's a sense of a young author appropriating ideas with the enthusiasm of a rail tourist snapping photos, though with enough tongue-in-cheek that it doesn't feel like theft. And the ending, which borrows elements from sci-fi B-movies, feels a little clumsy and preachy compared to the rest of the book.
Still, it’s a damn impressive debut, showcasing Mitchell’s ample gifts at technique and full of questions and beautiful insights. If you like literary fiction that hovers on the edge of fanciful, without crossing over into full-blown magic realism, then he’s someone you should read. Cloud Atlas is my personal favorite, but if that one sounds too meta, you might connect more with Ghostwritten. I'm pretty happy with the audiobook narrator chosen here, William Rycroft. He doesn't do a wide range of accents, but his tone and delivery are quite skillful.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
So Kill me. I really like David Mitchell, and reading this knowing it was his first novel is one of those things you can only really believe if you've read his other novels. This seems like an embryonic version of Cloud Atlas, with a lot of the same ideas, themes, and even a borrowed character or two. But that seems unfair, because most floret-novels never actually seem beautiful before their time. This one seems both a shinny fetus and world-ready.
This baby was my JAM. Yes, there are/were times (each of his books have several TIMES) when Mitchell's transcendent/jazzy/flash*flash/UnitedColorsofBeneton schtick gets a little tired, but he still pulls it off. Kind of like when I'm watching the Winter Olympics and I get a little overwhelmed by the flamboyance of the whole "we-are-the-world-in-tights" routine, but I still end up watching most of the crazy programing.
Anyway, it was fun to read and to already know the future. I read this already knowing that Mitchell wasn't going to be a one-hit-wonder, that his best books were ahead of him, that he would always have an Asian thing, that the Wachowskis/Tom Hanks would almost RUIN Cloud Atlas for me, that I would read every book he ever publishes, and usually buy several copies in many formats for several friends.
26 of 30 people found this review helpful
As other reviewers have said, this is kaleidoscopic in that it has several loosely (and sometimes surprisingly) linked stories - incredibly imaginative, very deep, unpredictable, fascinating and beautifully written.
Do not read/listen to this expecting anything like a straightforward story or even, necessarily, a point. You immerse yourself in the experience, and just try to take it all in, while your jaw drops periodically b/c of an amazing bit of writing or way of exploring an idea. Being inside this book (like with Cloud Atlas) creates a kind of awe, and amazement that someone's mind works this way.
If you like Mitchell's writing, you will love this. If you are looking for lighter entertainment, a neat story or anything like closure at the end, this may not be your cup of tea.
The performance is remarkable, with the reader taking on and giving voice to a wide range of characters with precision and grace.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
This is a novel that demands close listening/reading and re-reading. With Ghostwritten, Mitchell creates a world of intertwined stories and narrators -- a mashup of styles, and an intricate mosaic whose network of gaps are as critical as the fragments that make up
its whole. Human characters narrate their sections alongside beings without bodies and a deity whose body is a network of signals, voices, and satellites. As witty and moving as the most literate fiction and as imaginative and mythic as the best science fiction, Ghostwritten will leave you awe-struck and electrified to go back to the first page and take the ride again. The audiobook narrator had the daunting task of evoking these diverse voices and did so excellently!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I have really enjoyed a number of audio books but this is the only one I have ever finished and then immediately gone back to start all over again. I loved the final story but the knowledge of the end made me realise that I had missed all sorts of things on the way. I had to go back and start again. Very rewarding. The narrator was excellent too.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
First, the narrator gave no indication that he was moving from one person to the next. Often it took me a minute to figure out we were on to a new character. I rewound this book more than any other I've listened to because I didn't know what's going on.
In addition, the story felt incomplete. The ending was more a beginning and I'm still not certain what the story was actually about. If you want to try this author, I recommend The Bone Clocks instead. THAT was a great book and fabulously narrated!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Great story, complex and mysterious per usual from Mitchell. Vivid descriptions of the interior and subterranean selves. production could have benefited from longer pauses or short musical segue between shifts in narration.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Love everything he's ever written. Mitchell is a high-wire genius who channels characters in spider web plots that astound.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Ghostwritten will put you in the shoes of characters that find themselves in extraordinary situations. You will feel what the characters feel through David Mitchell's storytelling ability and superb command of English.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Ghostwritten in three words, what would they be?
Brilliant. Engaging. Well-written.
What did you like best about this story?
That I was never, ever bored and stayed up late into the night listening.
Which character – as performed by William Rycroft – was your favorite?
I like Mo very much. It is hard to name only one.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
I read The Bone Clocks first. I wish I had known more about David Mitchell and read this one first, as I prefer to read in chronological order. However, Bone Clocks let me know I would read all of his books. Two more to go!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful