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David Mitchell

Ghostwritten: a novel

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A magnificent achievement and an utterly engrossing experience, Ghostwritten is a novel set at the fugitive edges of Asia and Europe, featuring a whole host of characters. An apocalyptic cult member carries out a gas attack on a rush-hour metro, but what connects him to a jazz buff in downtown Tokyo? A woman on a holy mountain talks to a tree — and the tree talks back — unaware of the effect the financial irregularities of a burnt-out lawyer will have on her life. A Mongolian gangster, a redundant English spy in Saint Petersburg with a knack for forging masterpieces, a despondent ’zookeeper’, a nuclear scientist, a ghostwriter, a ghost, and a late night New York DJ whose hard-boiled scepticism has been his undoing — all have tales to tell.
Add to this saxophones and causality, Buddha, cherry blossoms, island cities, a mind unhooked from memory, the Trans Siberian Express, hidden narratives of the new world’s order, circles and roulette in London, ’The White Album’, Baggins… SUMMARY: David Mitchell’s electrifying debut novel takes readers on a mesmerizing trek across a world of human experience through a series of ingeniously linked narratives. 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.

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