ISBN - 9781444730876
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2004
PAGES - 529
GENRE - Literary Fiction
SOURCE - *from the own damned pocket*
AUTHOR - David Mitchell
BEST-SELLERS - Ghostwritten, Number9dream
SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]
Six interlocking lives - one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity's will to power, and where it will lead us.
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
“Power, time, gravity, love. The forces that really kick ass are all invisible.”
“All revolutions are the sheerest fantasy until they happen; then they become historical inevitabilities."
“I believe there is another world waiting for us. A better world. And i'll be waiting for you there"
“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”
“We looked at each other for the last time; nothing is as eloquent as nothing.”
FL Speak - What on earth did I just read???
It starts in 1850's, then jumps to 1930's, another jump to 1990's, then its somewhere in the 21st century, move to the post apocalyptic future now and then finally to post-post apocalyptic future?? And its all connected!
The book is written in such a way that it will keep you hanging. Most endings are abrupt. Especially when you least expect them. The author does manage to tie them off and the way he does it leaves you speechless. There are 6 principal characters and its their story spanning centuries. So the story moves from 1-2 and then 2-3-4-5-6 and from there it comes back 6-5-4-3-2-1. Confused? Allow me to be your savior without going into the details.
The first story is set in 1850's. Its the story of Adam Erwing. He's in one of the islands of Hawaii while the ship he's travelling with is in repairs. His ship starts sailing soon and he makes a new friend among one of the tribes of Hawaii. And just like that, the story ends. Infact, the story ends in midway of a sentence. I turn the page only to find it blank. You can imagine my consternation and I spared no amount of abuses at the publishers who managed to fuck it up. The next story is of a penniless musician Robert Frobisher set n 1930's. He sends a series of letters to a friend of his, describing his life living under the tutelage of a musical maestro. There he discovers the half written journal of Adam Erwing and he sends it to his pen-pal to find the rest.
The third and the fourth character makes an entrance with a new story. [And the abuses rain again] His name is Rufus Sixsmith and he is the above mentioned letter pal of Robert Frobisher. It is now 1990's (?) and he meets Luisa Rey, a journalist. She's snooping around a corporation of an unsafe nuclear powerplant where Sixsmith works. A few tens of pages later. Bam! New Story. Its now the 21st century and Timothy Cavendish is a publisher who manages to get himself locked up in elderly home. His only companion, a novel written by Luisa Rey.
Its now somewhere in the future and earth is unsafe to live. Sonmi~45I is a clone. A clone who works in an eatery. Their only duty is to serve. They look human, have human parts but feed on chemicals. Soon Sonmi~45I ascends. Here, Ascends means they start to have feelings, they think on their own. Soon the pot boils and before we know it [yes you guessed it], end of it.
This is the final tale. Its post apocalyptic future and human kind has almost ceased to exist. A few pockets of barbaric/medieval civilization remain. Zachery is a young Valleys man who herds goats for his family. The Valleys man pray to their Sonmi. Yes, the same Somni. His life takes a turn for the worst when a smarter group of powerful people arrive at his village with a nuclear ship.
And from here onwards, David Mitchell ties the book up in a fantastic way. We move back to Sonmi to learn what happened, then further back to Cavendish, then Luisa, Robert and finally to Me. Erwing. You remember me crying out for the missing pages from chapter 1. Well, its all here in the end. Ladies and Gentleman, it has been a thrilling read. I've simply no words.
I've just given a gist of each character. They have their own stories and its marvellous. Sonmi and Robert are by far my favorites. Wait, i loved Luisa too. And then there's this thing that chills me to the bone. Robert, Luisa, Sonmi and Meronym [a character in the chapter with Zachery], all have the same scar at exactly the same place. What on bleddy earth did that mean????
And the language! Oh-my-f-GAWD! Remember the 1st chapter in 1830's. The language was such that I had to take up a dictionary with me. It was high, upper class English that was spoken in those times. Jump to next chapter and the English changes. To a reader, its like reading and watching centuries pass by. The Zachary (post apocalpytic future) chapter's English made me cry. It was barbaric, it was unrefined. It was exactly that, that befitted that time. I didn't want to read and I didn't want the book to end. So I took my sweet time, made noodles, smoked and came back to this glorious narrative.
This is a beautiful, marvellous tale. Reading David Mitchell has been a pleasure. An exhausting, exhillarating pleasure. That Brit is a genius. If you haven't watched the movie, read the book first. As for me, am off to watch that movie.
My rating - 4.8/5 stars
PRICE - INR 350/-