I know that reading is very much a personal thing, but has anyone got any thoughts on the books of David Mitchell?
Cloud Atlas has been sitting on one of my shelves for years, unread, as has (I think) The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, but I am preparing (mentally) to go through a (physical) clear-out of books and I’m not sure that I can bring myself to even make a start on either to find out if I might like them, preferring instead to go by the fact that “if you haven’t picked them up in the last five years, ….”.
Based on the review of Utopia Avenue in today’s Guardian, I am not tempted by what the reviewer calls Mitchell’s ongoing “metanovel” or by the following lines from the review:
“… the frustrating, elusive magic of wresting melody out of four strings and a pick-up is vividly evoked, as Jasper “slams into an amp-blowing, bent-string howl and fires off a scale of triads, sliding from high E, all the way down”.”
I am not sure what I find most remarkable about that: the possibility that Jasper (a lead guitarist) might find it a little less frustrating on the melody front if he used all six strings on his guitar, or the Spinal Tap image I get from the description of the amp-blowing, howling triads. I assume that the reference to four strings is the reviewer’s rather than Mitchell’s.
If it helps, I like Dickens, Waugh, Orwell, Barnes, Le Carre, but I do not like Sci-Fi or Magic Realism.