A temporary future : the fiction of David Mitchell by Mitchell, David; Mitchell, David Stephen; O'Donnell, Patrick

By Mitchell, David; Mitchell, David Stephen; O'Donnell, Patrick

Having emerged as one the prime modern British writers, David Mitchell is quickly taking his position among British novelists with the gravitas of an Ishiguro or a McEwan.

Written for a large constituency of readers of latest literature, A transitority destiny: The Fiction of David Mitchell explores Mitchell's major concerns-including these of identification, background, language, imperialism, youth, the surroundings, and ethnicity-across the six novels released to date, in addition to his protean skill to write down in a number of and various genres. It areas Mitchell within the culture of Murakami, Sebald, and Rushdie-writers whose works discover narrative in an age of globalization and cosmopolitanism.

Patrick O'Donnell strains the through-lines of Mitchell's paintings from ghostwritten to The Bone Clocks and, with a bankruptcy on all of the six novels, charts the evolution of Mitchell's fictional project.

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High streets are becoming the same all over the world, I suppose” (211). In startling contrast to franchised pedestrian malls of the former imperial capital of Russia, there stand its baroque palaces and churches, including the Hermitage, the assemblage of buildings housing the art collection founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 where Margarita works as an attendant. She is also the member of a small gang of art thieves that include her boyfriend, Rudi, a mobbed-up “entrepreneur,” and a British expatriate and former Cambridge don accused of treason, Jerome, who forges masterpieces that are smuggled into the museum and exchanged for originals by Rudi and his associates disguised as a cleaning crew.

The first chapter, “Okinawa,” plays upon themes of the cultural outsider and the hunted man as it records the flight of a religious cultist and domestic terrorist, Keisuke Tanaka, code-named “Quasar,” from the scene of his attack on a Tokyo metro line using nerve gas. 2 In its apocalyptism, the Quasar’s cult, led by the putatively divine “His Serendipity” (5), which mirrors that of the factual Aun Shinrikyo, initiates the novel’s concern throughout with the fragile, treacherous—and indeed, serendipitous—condition of a planet inhabited by peoples seemingly bent on self-extinction.

While he is there, Cavendish receives a call from his brother in Hong Kong informing him that Cavendish Holdings (and, thus, the financing for his agency) is going under, thus putting Marco’s ghostwritten memoir of Alfred Kopf on hold.  … She burns incense, does aromatherapy and describes herself as not exactly telepathic, but definitely empathic. She’s into pre-Raphaelite art, and works part-time in a commercial picture library” (289). Marco then wanders homeward to Wapping and to a flat situated above the “New Moon” pub in “Old Moon Street,” the pub renamed after an incident in which terrorists, making bombs, blew themselves up in the air raid shelter underlying the pub’s basement.

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