Thursday, August 07, 2003

So I finished reading Ghostwritten by David Mitchell today. To be honest I was a little disappointed. The book is constructed in the format of 10 seemingly stand alone short stories, however the stories are linked by characters, who straddle the boundaries of their own tale, often appearing as peripheral parts of the next link in the chain.

I loved the start of the book, the chapters set in in Okinawa and Tokyo were splendid, although obviously influenced by the hand of Haruki Murakmi. An air of calm detachment, so typical of Murakami, cleverly understates the momentous events taking place, particularly in the Okinawa chapter. With my curiosity engaged, I quickly moved onto the next section. The themes of the following couple of chapters were equally engaging, but I thought the book really slumped during the middle three chapters, set in Mongolia, Petersburg and London. These elements of the book seemed predictable and mundane, not something which I normally associate with Mitchell's work. Thankfully the book then springs to life again, with the brilliant story of the Irish scientist, who decides that the technology which she has been developing, is going to be used in unacceptable ways. Prompting her to flee, with interesting results. The final couple of chapters are also captivating, and a few lose ends are successfully tied up, which makes the mid book lull even more frustrating.

I've mentioned here before, how much I enjoyed David Mitchell's second book - Number 9 Dream, a brilliant book which shows real progression from Ghostwritten. If he continues to hone his skills at this rate then his 3rd book should really be something to look forward to.


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