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- Publisher: Sceptre
- Format: Paperback | 448 pages
- Dimensions: 132mm x 198mm x 32mm | 299g
- Publication date: 20 April 2000
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0340739754
- ISBN 13: 9780340739754
- Edition: 2, Revised
- Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
- Sales rank: 4,485
An apocalyptic cult member carries out a gas attack on a rush-hour metro, but what links him to a jazz buff in downtown Tokyo? Or to a Mongolian gangster, a woman on a holy mountain who talks to a tree, and a late night New York DJ? Set at the fugitive edges of Asia and Europe, Ghostwritten weaves together a host of characters, their interconnected destinies determined by the inescapable forces of cause and effect. A magnificent achievement and an engrossing experience, David Mitchell's first novel announced the arrival of one of the most exciting writers of the twenty-first century.
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Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. David Mitchell's sixth novel is The Bone Clocks (Sceptre, 2014).
By Nicholas Wong 29 Mar 2013
For the casual reader, it's best to think of Ghostwritten as a collection of short stories. Yes, the stories are all interrelated and come together somewhat towards the end, but if you think going into it that it's one big story with just one big narrative, you might find the book challenging. Just as you get into one story, it ends and you're moved on to the next one, which can throw the pacing off for some people - which is why it's much nicer to think of it as a few short stories, with a number of linking elements that overall make up a greater narrative.
As for the stories themselves, they're very diverse and extremely well-written. It's almost as if several different authors worked on the book, rather than David Mitchell, which is a testament to his talent as a writer. This also means that anyone looking for a particular genre or type of story may find themselves a little short here, because it goes from a cult expose to a romance story to a spiritual journey to crime. I'd say it's perfect for the reader who likes to sample a bit of everything, and if that's what you're looking for, then Ghostwritten is for you.
Also, note, the connections between the stories aren't all obvious, which in my opinion makes it better - it doesn't seem forced or in-your-face that way. There's something nice about reading the book, going online to see what you missed and then re-reading the novel to try and catch everything. Great book.
Demands to be read and re-read ... an astonishing debut -- Lawrence Norfolk Independent The accolades are well deserved ... Ghostwritten is a wide-reaching, multi-layered novel ... Mitchell also captures a tenderness, a yearning for something deeper, just below what often appears in as a bleak and cheerless surface Observer Mitchell's dazzling debut covers a lot of geography and a vast range of topics. The whole magpie's nest is loosely bundled into the net bag of a fiercely incomprehensible and mystical plot. The Times One of the best first novels I've read in a long time ... I couldn't put it down -- AS Byatt Mail on Sunday A firework display ... a remarkable novel by a young writer of remarkable talent -- Adam Lively Observer Technically accomplished, but consistently funny and affecting: if you want to know what the distinctive literature of the 21st century will look like, begin here -- Boyd Tonkin Independent The best first novel I have read in ages ... it beguiles, informs, shocks and captivates. -- William Boyd Daily Telegraph Fabulously atmospheric and wryly perceptive ... a huge new talent Guardian Books of the Year A remarkable first novel ... Eastern, ethereal, yet flecked with flashes of commando grit, this multi-faceted novel is full of surprises Time Out
More of an experience that a novel, Mitchell's book's huge cast play off one another to dazzling efect. Set in the shadowlands and margins of Asia and Europe, stories intermingle with a bewildering and awe-inspiring brilliance. Ghostwritten becomes a melting pot into which are tossed a Japanese jazz fan, island cities, a Mongolian mobster, Buddha, 'The White Album', Ulan Bator's Grand Central Station and much much more. All the elements in this engrossing novel combine to form a masterpeiece which draws the reader into a world where everyone and everything has its own story to tell. (Kirkus UK)