Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Mc-Pa)

Mitchell, David

novel story pacific narrative

(British, 1969– )

Mitchell's first novel, Ghostwritten (1999), is an intricate tapestry of interwoven stories set in China, Japan, Mongolia, London, St Petersburg, and Hong Kong. Though each has integrity as a stand-alone story, often with mesmerizing voices carrying the narrative, the whole is much more than the sum of the parts. Through occasional interfaces (sightings of a character from one story in the background to another), Mitchell creates a composite picture of a unified, realistic world—a world peopled (as ours is) with lovers and writers and terrorists and old ladies and art thieves. His second novel, Number9dream (2001), which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, tells a more straight-forward single-line narrative (young Eiji Miyake in Tokyo, searching for the father he has never met). But Mitchell tells this story using a wild array of techniques and genre echoes (science fantasy, crime, etc.) to produce one of the most enthralling books of its kind (if it can be said to have a ‘kind’ at all) of recent years.

Cloud Atlas (2004, Booker shortlisted) uses six narrators from a range of periods, places, and genres (a boat in the Pacific in 1850, the home of a composer in 1930s’ Belgium, a future world where pure bloods use genetic clones as slaves) to structure a novel like a nest of Russian dolls. At its heart is the testimony of a young Pacific islander witnessing the end of civilization. His language is colloquial but strangely unfamiliar; Mitchell's versatility renders each voice distinctive and utterly convincing.

Haruki Murakami, Sid Smith, Russell Hoban (Riddley Walker)  DHa /JR

Mitchell, Gladys [next] [back] Mistry, Rohinton

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