Amy Reads Books

Ghostwritten

Ghostwritten - David Mitchell I have finally finished a non-university related book! It’s taken me about a month, but it’s actually done, and for starters I will say that that isn’t any reflection on the quality of Ghostwritten. This is Mitchell’s debut novel, and was published in 1999. It can quite easily be seen as an early version of the hugely successful Cloud Atlas, which is soon to become a film with a cast including Tom Hanks, Ben Whishaw, Halle Berry & Doona Bae. As I loved Cloud Atlas, this does mean that Ghostwritten inevitably faces some comparison to the later novel; and unfortunately it doesn’t have quite the same success. While Cloud Atlas was very successful in tying together the strands of the narrative, Ghostwritten I felt didn’t have quite the same impact, with perhaps a few too many plot strands going on (though interestingly, Luisa Ray pops up in this novel, as does the comet-shaped birthmark).However, baring in mind this was a debut novel, it is really remarkable. Mitchell has a way of inhabiting character voices, that makes each individual, from a terrorist to a late-night radio show host, come alive. Each little story is incredibly well written, with each setting coming easily to life; whether’s it’s England, Russia or Japan, the latter of which is evidently influenced by the fact Mitchell lived in Japan for a few years. The sense of imagination in all these stories is incredible as well; the only downside being that I wanted to know more about some of the characters.My only problem with the novel, aside from the nine tales not necessarily really matching up as they could have done, was that some of the more supernatural or spiritual elements of the story were a bit overdone, or at least, they seemed a little too ‘out there’ to really connect to.Overall, however, I really liked Ghostwritten, and would love to read some more of Mitchell’s work in the future (once I wade through my current massive TBR pile here at Uni and at home).