Updated: Jan 3, 2019
When somebody asks me who my favourite author is I don't have to think about it at all. I think this defines if something really is your favourite. I mean if you have to think about it, is it really your favourite? Anyway since the day I picked up a paperback copy of Cloud Atlas I have never looked back and think that every one of his books is quite brilliant. What also makes Mitchell stand out from the crowd is that his books are so very different. Many authors work in the same genre but Mitchell's books span many. Mitchell was born in England and attended Hanley Castle High School before moving on and receiving his degree in English and American literature from the University of Kent. His first novel Ghostwritten was published in
1999 and showed a structure of writing that Mitchell has become a master at. This novel won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. No less than nine narrators tell the story that has multiple narratives that twist and intertwine like a skein of wool. Cloud Atlas, which was shortlisted for the booker in 2004 uses this structure amazingly and it is one of my all time favourite novels.
His second novel, number9dream, was published in 2001, and was also shortlisted for the booker prize. Black Swan Green was his fourth novel, published in 2006. This book was the complete opposite of his first three novels. It tells the story of thirteen year old Jason Taylor growing up in a quiet little village in England 1982. It's a wonderful tale and was listed by Time as one of the ten best books of the year. Time also listed Mitchell as one of the one hundred most influential people in 2007. It would take Mitchell another four years before publishing his fifth novel, The
Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet Again this book was vastly different from everything else he had written. It is set in Dejima, a tiny island in the Nagasaki Harbor. It is used by the Japanese to intercept trading ships before reaching the mainland. Set in 1799 the narrative tells the story of young Jacob, a clerk trying to make enough money and return home to marry his fiancée. Once again it is a beautiful tale, meticulously researched. This one missed the booker shortlist but did make the longlist. His last two books both exist in the same world that he has created. The Bone Clocks. published in 2014, is about two groups of beings with mystical mental and physical powers, who have been at war in the background, unbeknownst to the general human population for years. Slade House, is a novella that is set in the same world and was published the following year.
More to come on David....