Quick Book Review: Ghostwritten by David Mitchell (DNF)
October 7, 2012 27 Comments
David Mitchell is one of my favorite authors. I loved his last book The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, enjoyed Black Swan Green, very much enjoyed Cloud Atlas, and also liked Number9Dream a lot. So, Ghostwritten was the only book I hadn’t read yet.
So I pick it up and what happens? I don’t really enjoy it. I read about a cult member who has been involved with a gas attack in the Tokyo subway system, about a young man working in a Tokyo record store, about a Western laywer in Hong Kong, and a woman who owns a tea shack in China. Then I stopped reading, as even after 130 pages, I was not interested in the rest of the book.
To me, these are short stories, and I am not keen on short stories, I like a plot line the whole way through a novel. According to wikipedia, there are some connections between the (in total) nine parts of this book (and indeed I discovered one or two), but these were too loose to pull the stories together into one novel. For me, at least.
According to the back of the book: “In nine corners of the globe, nine characters from an art thief in San Petersburg to a terrorist in Okinawa hurtle towards a shared destiny, oblivious of the intriguing ways their lives intersect and influence each other. From this dazzlingly original novel of love, metaphysics, history, politics and ghosts emerges an unforgettable vision of our common humanity.”
Other than not liking short stories, these particular stories did not appeal much to me. Only the first one, with a crazy (brain washed) cult member was interesting. I just hoped at some point he would realise what he was really doing. He was an intriguing character, but his story stopped much too soon (I assume to be returned to later in the book). The man in the record store I didn’t care about much and so it went on with story lines and characters that I had no interest in.
Somehow, the similar set-up in Cloud Atlas didn’t bother me at all – those stories were longer, more complete and interesting, I guess. I seems I cannot say much sensible about this book other than “I didn’t like it”. So there.
Rating: did not finish
Number of pages: 438 (I read until page 130)
First published: 1999
I got this book: from a bookswap (Bookmooch)
Genre: contemporary fiction
Have you read this book?
Did you enjoy it?