by bookboy on June 19, 2007The concept of Ghostwritten is compelling: several unrelated, interconnected stories that somehow are suppose to create a whole. At first, part of the fun in reading Ghostwritten is being plunked in the middle of some interesting crisis in a character's life. You become fascinatingly absorbed in the tale and then suddenly you're unceremoniously removed from the character's somewhat unresolved story and plunked into the middle of another character crisis in another part of the world. Disoriented, you read along sucked into this new tale only to have this happen to you again and again. It's jarring and throws off the momentum a bit, but keeps the novel fresh and exciting.
What makes this so much fun is unexpectedly stumbling across interconnections to characters from past stories that thread throughout. I found myself excited from anticipation when each new chapter began, looking out for the surprise connections. Because of this, I read the book slowly, savoring each new twist and turn wanting to make the read last. Mitchell is a good storyteller and sucks you in completely.
Perhaps in reading this so slowly I missed something. The last interesting chapter is London with the ghostwriter. The final few chapters fall apart, especially the New York City chapter. The DJ chatting with the Zookeeper was a complete "What the ...???" moment and when I read the last page I scratched my head and thought, "Did I miss something?" I didn't understand the point to having the stories interconnect outside of its entertainment value. I wasn't quite sure I "got" the big picture. I think the novel went in a full circle but I'm unsure.
It's enough to make me want to closely re-read the novel to see what I've missed but I don't think I really need to know that badly to compell me to re-read Ghostwritten. It's a fun read, full of wonderful visuals and lyrical writing but for me it wasn't a completely cohesive read. I give it three stars. Recommended, but expect to be somewhat disappointed with the ending.
You're signed up (and we ♥ you). Watch for our Welcome e-mail and your first coupon. Thanks!