I’ve only just caught up with David Mitchell’s first novel written in 1999. In addition to its literary qualities, I thought that members of this parish might be interested in the crucial role that music plays in two parts of the novel. The novel is a daisy-chain of stories, starting and returning to Japan via Hong Kong,Mongolia, St Petersburg and London. Characters, objects and themes wander in an out of the stories, which vary from an art heist to a Nick Leeson-style trader breaking down. After a short introduction the first story focuses on a Japanese teenager who looks after a jazz record store. Mitchell’s jazz soundtrack – from Bill Evans and Duke Jordan to Johnny Hart is sprinkled throughout and had me diving for Spotify. Like Haruki Murakami he brings to life the self-indulgent emotionalism of the teenage obsession with choosing music to soundtrack melancholic, solitary and lovelorn feelings.
The second music-heavy story is the concluding one, in which a late night talk and music radio show is involved in the end of the world, which may be being prevented by a artificial intelligence dreamed up by a mathematician from an earlier story. Here we get song » Continue Reading.