A Novel

Book - 2000
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Random House, Inc.
By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks andCloud Atlas

“A brave new book for a brave new world—fueled by a brilliant imagination and buoyed by beautifully descriptive writing.”—USA Today

A gallery attendant at the Hermitage. A young jazz buff in Tokyo. A crooked British lawyer in Hong Kong. A disc jockey in Manhattan. A physicist in Ireland. An elderly woman running a tea shack in rural China. A cult-controlled terrorist in Okinawa. A musician in London. A transmigrating spirit in Mongolia. What is the common thread of coincidence or destiny that connects the lives of these nine souls in nine far-flung countries, stretching across the globe from east to west? What pattern do their linked fates form through time and space?

A writer of pyrotechnic virtuosity and profound compassion, a mind to which nothing human is alien, David Mitchell spins genres, cultures, and ideas like gossamer threads around and through these nine linked stories. Many forces bind these lives, but at root all involve the same universal longing for connection and transcendence, an axis of commonality that leads in two directions—to creation and to destruction. In the end, as lives converge with a fearful symmetry,Ghostwritten comes full circle, to a point at which a familiar idea—that whether the planet is vast or small is merely a matter of perspective—strikes home with the force of a new revelation. It marks the debut of a writer of astonishing gifts.

Praise for Ghostwritten

“[Mitchell] has a gift for fiction’s natural pleasures—intricate surprises, insidiously woven narratives, ingenious voices.”The New York Times Book Review

“Elegantly composed, gracefully plotted and full of humor.”Los Angeles Times

“Unlike so many of the chroniclers of the twenty-first-century pastiche—an industry dominated by ad men and feature-writers, not novelists—Mitchell has set out to craft actual characters, not archetypes. The result is a dazzling piece of work.”The Washington Post

“Mitchell deftly sketches each character to such a compelling extent that you become totally immersed. . . . His nine characters and their random but fateful interactions provide a playful, suspenseful foray into our ever-shrinking world.”Entertainment Weekly

“An intricately assembled Fabergé egg of a novel, full of sly and sometimes beautiful surprises. . . . In an era in which much literary fiction is characterized by unearned ironies and glib cynicism, it’s hard not to be impressed by the humanism that animates Mitchell’s book.”New York

“Gripping and innovative. . . . [Ghostwritten serves] to illustrate the strange interconnectivity of the modern world and the improvisatory nature of fate.”The New York Times

“A daring novel, uniquely structured and just as uniquely compelling.”TheDenver Post

From the Hardcover edition.

Baker & Taylor
The lives of nine total strangers from nine different countries become intertwined in a strange series of circumstances.

& Taylor

The lives of nine total strangers from nine different countries--including a terrorist in Okinawa, a British financier in Hong Kong, a female physicist in Ireland, and a radio DJ in New York--become intertwined in a strange series of circumstances. A first novel. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2000, c1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375724503
Characteristics: 426 p. ; 25 cm


From the critics

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mvkramer Nov 28, 2015

This story reminds me of the idea of "six degrees of separation" - a bunch of loosely-connected vignettes from disparate people's lives that somehow connect. As always, David Mitchell has an excellent command of voice - all his characters sound distinct and real. From "Clear Island" on, though, there's an abrupt shift in tone and theme that I found jarring. Still, a very good book, especially for a first novel.

Nov 20, 2014

Mitchell is really good at getting into different personas and eras and cultures in a vivid and interesting way. I like the themes of randomness, chance, coincidence and destiny that he focuses on in the 3 books of his I have read so far. The little connections between each of the the individual stories and his other novels makes for a concentrated and rewarding reading experience!

Oct 17, 2014

An very good novel on with respect to fate and chance. Well crafted with nine different stories woven into one novel. Enjoyable and worth reading.

NYPLRecommends Jul 28, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Ghostwritten was David Mitchell’s debut novel. A terrorist in Okinawa, a record store worker in Tokyo, a recently separated financial lawyer in Hong Kong, an old woman living in a shack in China, an eight-year old Mongolian boy’s ghost, an art thief in St. Petersburg, a playboy ghostwriter in London, a paranoid physicist in Ireland, and a DJ in New York. Each distinct character carries its own style and tone. The stories are so delicately connected it leave the reader feeling untethered among boundless other lives. Not for those who need to feel their feet on the ground at all times.
- Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

Jun 28, 2013

More a series of loosely linked stories than a novel. The final chapter brings them together, but in a nebulous way. Might need to read this book twice. The individual stories make the effort worthwhile. Each is narrated by a different character with a distinctive voice and personality. And the various locales are vividly described. A fascinating perspective on the convergence of the human spirit.

GeoffAbel Jan 24, 2013

A superlative 1st novel. This is more a series of vaguely connected short stories rather than the more tiresome random-lives-colliding stories moviemakers love to make. The writing, the stories and characters are top notch - although the enigmatic ending seems a bit too enigmatic (meaning artsy). I'm excited to read more by Mitchell

bryanfok2003 Sep 01, 2012

The so-called interconnection between the characters are as simple as the way of meeting someone related to other characters in a restaurant in Hong Kong or a teashack in Holy mountain. And these connections mean very little in the whole story that the stories can go on without them. It is really below my expectation.

squib May 17, 2012

Loved this. Lots and lots. Definitely a book I will purchase, read again and again and share with friends.

David Mitchell, I hate you for having so much talent at such a young age. thank you for writing.

Mar 31, 2012

More like 9 interconnected character sketches of people all over the world-- and not all are human. Some of the connections felt really forced. Entertaining in a I-wonder-how-that-person's-life-is-connected-to-that-one-and-in-how-many-degrees sort of way.

Sep 24, 2011

David Mitchell is a find! I liked this even better than the Cloud Atlas.

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Mar 31, 2012

"We're all ghostwriters, my boy. And it's not just our memories. Our actions, too. We all think we're in control of our own lives, but really they're pre-ghostwritten by forces around us."


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