Ghostwritten is the third novel I’ve read by David Mitchell and, like the others, did not disappoint. It’s hard to explain exactly what Ghostwritten is about because it focuses on so many different characters. The best way I’ve found to describe it is that it is about the interaction of strangers and how everyone affects everyone else.
Throughout the book you read about a cult-controlled terrorist in Okinawa, a young jazz buff in Tokyo, a crooked British lawyer in Hong Kong, an elderly woman running a tea shack in rural China, a transmigrating spirit in Mongolia, a gallery attendant at the Hermitage, a musician in London, a physicist in Ireland, and a disc jockey in Manhattan. Each character has their own section in the book, but throughout each section other characters (whether it’s one of the main characters or a side character from a different story) show up and affect the story. There are even characters that appear from different novels by Mitchell, namely Cloud Atlas. There were many times when a character came into play and I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “Oh my god! It’s that guy!” out loud. I loved those experiences because it helped events in other parts of the book connect and make more sense.
Although I did like the side appearances of all the characters in the different sections, I was slightly disappointed that Mitchell did not make the character a “main character” again. Each character had their own little section and that was it, so you didn’t really get to see how their story ended. I also had some trouble switching between characters, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s good in that it shows how great Mitchell’s writing is that the reader remains stuck with the character even after their part of the story has come to a close. However, it’s also bad because it may push readers away from continuing. They may became so attached to one character that they just want to know more about that specific character instead of starting over with a brand new character.