This brilliant first novel is a series of stories interwoven by chance meetings and coincidences. It starts with the doomsday cult Sarin nerve gas attack in Tokyo and follows one of the fugitive attackers. Next there is the story of a jazz shopworker and his love affair with a customer also set in Tokyo. Then to Hong Kong and financial shenanigans involving a British expat and a fraudulent Russian mafia financial transaction that ruins his life – there is also an affair with the conniving house cleaner thrown in. Next to China where we follow the life of a woman who runs a tea shack on a Holy Mountain and we see 80 years of Chinese cultural change. Then to Mongolia, where perhaps the best story is set, where we have a noncorpum spirit being that lives in the minds of people trying to discover the origin of a story that it was born with. It controls the people it invades and moves from person to person by forcing them to touch eachother. Next to Petersburg in Russia where we follow a gallery attendant and her criminal businessman boyfriend as they make their final art theft by swopping a forgery for the real thing and get nastily involved with the Russian mafia. Then to London and story of a womanising ghostwriter and drummer who gets involved in a bet in a casino and changes his life forever. Next to the friendly island of Clear Island off the south coast of Ireland and the story of one of the islanders who is a fugitive from the Pentagon. She is a genius quantum physicist and is working on the next generation of computers which the Pentagon wants to harness for military means against her will. Then to New York and the story of a nighttime radio chathost and his mysterious caller called Zookeeper who rings once a year. Zookeeper is no ordinary caller for he she it is a computer hacker who might just control the world. Wanted by the FBI the hacker destroys a secret government installation by laser satellite on air and later saves the world from third world war nuclear attack by freezing all the nuclear missiles. Is the Zookeeper a next generation computer with a mind of its own or it is the doomsday cult leader from the first story of the book? The novel finishes with a brief story that interlinks all the themes from the stories as the Sarin gas attacker strikes again on a train in Japan and tries to escape his own gas attack. David Mitchell describes each of the countries and cultures in which the stories are set in-depth and beautifully. His range and breadth of story telling is awesome. If you want to know how the coincidences link each story you will have to read this brilliant book as they are far too intricate to describe here. A wonderful book by a truly talented writer!
This report prepared by John Marcel