Ghostwritten is the first novel published by the author David Mitchell. Published in 1999, it won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was widely acclaimed. The story takes place mainly around East Asia, but also moves through Russia, Britain, the USA and Ireland. It is written episodically; each chapter details a different story and central character, although they are all interlinked through seemingly coincidental events. Many of the themes from Ghostwritten continue in Mitchell's subsequent novels, number9dream and Cloud Atlas. Ghostwritten is the subject of a number of influences, particularly from East Asian culture and superstition, as well as real events remodeled for plot purposes. There are also hints and references to other works, most prominently from Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics towards the end of the book, as well as Wild Swans by Jung Chang and The Music of Chance by Paul Auster.
CloggieDownunder (Thirroul): Ghostwritten is the first novel by British author, David Mitchell. Told by nine different narrators, with a plot spanning centuries and continents, this is an amazing debut novel. The narrators are a member of a doomsday cult who releases poison gas in a subway in Tokyo, and details his retreat to Okinawa and a small nearby island, Kume-jima; a jazz aficionado who works as a sales clerk in a Tokyo music store; a lawyer in a financial institution in Hong Kong who has been moving large sums of money from a certain account; a woman who owns a Tea Shack on China's Holy Mountain and speaks to a tree; a non-corporeal sentient entity which is searching for who or what it is; a gallery attendant in Petersburg who is involved in an art theft scam; a ghostwriter/drummer living in London who saves a woman from being run over by a taxi; an Irish nuclear physicist who quits her job when she finds her research is being used for military purposes; and a late night radio talkback DJ who finds himself fielding calls from an intriguing caller referring to himself as the zookeeper. Mitchell weaves together these nine narrations into a cohesive whole with vague or occasionally direct references to a myriad of common themes, characters, objects, or words (including, but not limited to, albino conger eels, camphor trees, an earth-bound comet, Kilmagoon whiskey, jazz music, cleaning toilets and artificial intelligence) in each narration. His characters muse on, ponder and articulate on various themes: love/lust; chance/fate; brainwashing; propaganda; one's own place in the world; why we are who we are; principles; and the character of London Underground Lines; There is humour, irony, intrigue, and a plentiful helping of tongue-in-cheek comments. And when Mo Muntervary tells Father Wally “Phenomena are interconnected regardless of distance, in a holistic ocean more voodoo than Newton”, she could be describing Mitchell’s own love affair with connections: fans of Mitchell's work will also recognise certain characters and concepts from his other novels, in particular, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green and number9dream. This is a brilliant debut novel.