David Mitchell | Author Spotlight



hey guys I'm here today to do another office potluck video and today I'm going to do it on David Mitchell he is again one of my favorite living authors and I've been lucky enough to actually go to talkin signing on it so I have quite a lot to say about him and yet really hope you enjoy this video David Mitchell was born in Southport in England in 1969 and he actually studied at the same University as me which is the University of Kent so he got his degree there and then his master's degree then he lived in Sicily for a year and then after he went to live in Hiroshima in Japan for eight years while he taught English to students whilst in Japan he met his wife and when she fell pregnant they moved back to the UK and I believe it's during this time that he first started writing to be published so whilst at school David Mitchell always really struggled and a lot of his teachers told his parents he wouldn't really achieve anything in life and he wasn't gonna do very well and he really struggled with writing David Mitchell always had a saml which he really struggled with and he felt held him back and what I found really interesting at the talk I went to is he said his parents were always very into art I believe his mother may have been an artist and as a child she would buy massive sheets of paper and put them on a canvas board and as give him loads of crayons and he used to create world so he's to draw all these islands and write the history of the islands what creatures lived on there and what animals their world monsters and he'd write the history of all these people in these islands and he thinks this is where his imagination sort of told him there was no no restrictions and allowed him to really think outside the box and think of all these different worlds and even if he did better confidence in his writing itself that gave him the confidence in in his head as to what he could think to paper even he couldn't actually put it on paper so as I said when he moved back from Japan he had his first book published and something else I find interesting is that when asked about his time in Japan he always says that you know it really affected his writing and if you read and he was booked several of them have Japanese influences characters in Japan and some of the sectionalism cassette in Japan and he said you know this is really influenced him as a writer and he could have been a totally different right – if he hadn't have lived in Japan and been so affected by all of that so I think that's an interesting premise that you know someone's life experiences can so drastically change who they are as a white or maybe maybe that's what gave him the confidence to be arrived when he never would being a writer we hadn't I've come to Japan so he did actually get published he has firstly published in 1999 that was going to returns having freed all that heat is wrong and really achieved some amazing amazing things especially for someone who is struggle so much at school with told he wouldn't really achieve anything especially in the sort of literary field so I'm gonna struggle to describe David Mitchell's books because they are not linear narratives they're not easy books to describe I'm gonna give it a go so go switching this set across nine corners of the globe with nine characters I'm gonna read a tiny bit of the back so it says from an art thief in saint-petersburg to a terrorist in Okinawa they hurtle towards a shared destiny and Bolivia's of the intriguing ways their lives intersect and influence each other so this is your standard David Mitchell I don't need an ilysm it's rubbish I mean standard within this epitomizes what David Mitchell does we have these nine different things going on and they almost read like novellas they could be read as novellas so you could just read one in it and then it's really it and then you could leave it what happens this is that story gradually you then read the other story and you start to realize how they connect the further you get into the story so as with most of those books this is John ratifying I can't really explain what it's all if his books are literally fiction but they all have some historical fictions and science fiction some fantasy some magical realism within them and this is one of the ones that has a hell of a lot of genres inside those ghostwritten then he published number nine dream in 2001 this is probably the most heavily influenced by Japan so this is actually set in Tokyo and it focuses on a 19 year old boy who starts one down who his father may really be and this is weird like this is almost like down the rabbit hole sort of thing like you don't the whole time you really you don't really know what's happening is really happening and this is weird people chasing him but you don't it's like it's sort of looking at these massive corporations and the power they have but doing it in a really weird fantastical way it's a really interesting book it's really action-packed it's really fun and the main character is a great protagonist and yeah then we have his most famous book which is Cloud Atlas this is published in 2004 and this book follows I believe six yeah six interlocking lines and they start from way back in the past and then we have one in present-day and then we have to set in the future these stories are like Russian dolls you read one and then you've read that first layer and it opens up and there's another layer and then there's another layer and then there's another layer so these ones are much more connected than ghostwritten and go to it and you can see the connections but it's not like one leads to another later now that this is definitely like that and then when you get to the middle of this book it starts to work back on itself so you start in the past and go to the future and then you go to the future again and go to the past so they work back on one another and all these people are linked they have a very deep intrinsic link with one another which makes sense as the novel goes on this link I think a lot of people think all this is when you're mysterious the link isn't necessarily what's amazing about it's not what's amazing is the way he I mean what he doesn't miss on which is different to go shorten and go through it him although we're dealing with different characters in different parts of the world the voices is similar you can tell it to debut the voices are there isn't a different tone in each of the short stories this one totally different it could be a different author writing apart from the fact that they're fantastic it could be different author writing every single one most people will struggle with at least one of the narratives in this book because they're all so different a lot of people won't necessarily like every genre but I think they are absolutely fantastic and yeah this is the one of my favorite books of all time so it's it's such a feat in these absolutely fantastic and then in 2006 he published Black Swan green this is I think his only realistic novel and this is almost like sort of he uses his own life to do this this focus is on a 13 year old boy in 1982 and it's more than just village and this boy struggles with autism and we deal with his relationship this teacher and his relationship with the other children in the village and yeah this is totally different all of his other books but this shows that David Mitchell can do a little quiet story very realist and he can do coming rage then in 2010 we have the thousand autumns of Kunduz wood I think when you have a side that's that's a gamble this one is getting difficult to explain ok so it's set on a man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki and and it's set in the 18th century and we focus on Dutch Klerk whom lives on this man-made island and his relationships with the people on this island and there's this think like a nunnery at the top of the hill mainland and there's some weird stuff going on at the nunnery right this book is really difficult explain I need to reread this one but this is you know really the collision of two cultures and the collision of this is historical fiction this is the excellent historical fiction but then obviously because David Mitchell it has a twist so there's some unexplainable elements going on in this book very weird things and this book is again fantastic I think it's one of his better books it is mesmerizing and if you enjoy historical fiction but feel that something a bit different I highly recommend this one then most recently in 2014 we have the bone clocks this is again a book with multiple narratives and again it's set across different time periods very close together but this book starts in the 1980s and finishes in I think 2044 so it's only atomic man of around 60 years and we followed one young character so we followed Holly from the age of I think 16 and it follows her and sometimes through her eyes and sometimes through the eyes of other characters who know her for all these years so in every story she is in the story sometimes in the foreground sometimes in the background and yeah this book again uses science fiction fantasy magical realism within a literary fiction like frying really this deals brilliantly with the idea of time with the idea of loss with the idea of scary things that are going to happen to us in the future and yeah again fantastic and this is one that is difficult to describe that giving anything away so that's all I'm going to say fade Mitchell it also translated a book from Japanese with his wife and this book was written by a very young boy I think like twelve years old this boy was and David Mitchell's son suffers autism and this book is about autism and it's called the reason I jump I'm yet to read this like I've heard it is fantastic so again if you want to and the David Mitchell also has a book coming out later this year and I think autumn time called slave house and I believe it came from writing the brain box and I don't know if it's a character for the main course or something he was writing to sauce build up the plot in his head for the bone clocks and eventually couldn't stop writing it became a novel I believe it's less than 300 pages so it will be assured just normal yet but I'm very excited nonetheless for it to come out and I will have on pre-order so what is exciting about all of David Mitchell's books is that they are pretty much all interconnected so it doesn't matter what order you even and I think a lot of people think oh I have to read them in the order they're published because I don't want to miss out it doesn't matter because if you read them in a totally different order then you experience the characters differently so for example while as the main characters in these thousand autumns oh yeah it is in the bank clocks so I guess you should maybe read this one first because then you'll when he appears in this one it's you sort of have a history with it so that it's more exciting to see his future but if you read then the other way around then you'll think he's a cool guy in this one and then you'll be like yeah I'm gonna learn way more about him in this one so it doesn't really matter but they all have interconnections and even the fact that this book is the only real Istanbul there's characters from this that come up in some of these other books I think that's what's fast and I can put information he's obviously excited on this idea of the interconnectedness between people or between worlds and playing with genres and trying these different things and in doing that he has not only made his novels multi-layered and multi narrative he's made in general his whole is hope bibliography like that and it works perfectly and something else I think worth mentioning is that don't which'll said at the book talk when he was asked does he write books like this intentional he does he sit there and think I want to be something different I want to do something shocking I want to something that people think wow how did he do this and he said not at all this is something that happens you know you come across something you think that's an interesting concept he's aware that it's a bit different he doesn't do it because of the fact and what he actually said was that he was always best to write a novella that was where he excelled with spending a hundred to 150 pages of the character and with the world and really embellishing it and then leaving it and but a lot of people don't make big money or much money at all from writing novellas so he with his novels he realized the what he could do is use his skill of writing novellas but somehow attach these novellas to each other give him a thread through which you could have a story and that's what he's done with my success books we have around six novellas and somehow there's this this friend woven through them which connects the rest of the story and I think that's what's really interesting about David Mitchell now I'm gonna tell you the order I read them in I'm gonna tell you the order of my preference and ones I would recommend so I read them in a really messed-up order I I believe bought this one first I read the first 50 pages and was terrified by it I was probably around 15 and I just went why am i heard the first story in this collection is obviously set quite far in the past and yeah it didn't grab me so I put that one down and I read this one quite soon after it was released I were the first one was actually he's real it's novel and I really enjoyed this and then I then read and the thousand it was obvious ooh and I was around 20 and really enjoyed that again I need to reread it because I mean I when I was on holiday so I probably didn't give it the attention it deserved then I read number nine dream and we enjoyed that one and then a few months later I read ghost written and then obviously I read the bank box when it came out last year so I read them in a very bizarre order I would say obviously Cloud Atlas in my mind is the best is it's a shame when there's one that's head and shoulders above the rest and with an author because they may feel like this is bearing on there they got asked about but his books are all amazing but this one is stellar it's world-class so there's that one and then I would say that these two are the next best I roamed this one mall because I said just read it but I think this one is on par like I think these two are excellent excellent books and look at historical fiction this is excellent so yeah very different but both equally very good then I would say again very different about number nine dream and blacks on green I really enjoyed not as much as the other three I think Conan shall we read this one because it is quite complex and I just want to reread this one cuz it's been so long but as those two and then I would say that goes which one for me was you know the one that wasn't as good for the rest is this debut so that's forgivable it's still really good and it's still really bad I just felt that these what really wanna stand Alone's but in terms of interconnectedness I felt it was loose and it didn't it didn't work as cohesively as the other books when people say I'm gonna read an office work in order I wouldn't necessarily do that because I don't because it's best so yeah if it was me personally if you are intimidated by David Mitchell and I would go if you're intimidated by David Mitchell but you do enjoy historical fiction I can for this one because this one is of too confusing um then if you're not intimidated at all then I would obviously start with Cloud Atlas if you're a little bit intimidated go to a phone clock so I think it's an easier we think our atlas and then yeah if you prefer realism looking for this one and then these two these two I think could be the one that you'd read to fill up to read the rest of David's missiles but I wouldn't recommend starting with with these two and I think in terms of this style the bone box and clad out that's a better so yeah so that is my video on David Mitchell I hope you enjoyed it please let me know if you've read any of his books once you enjoyed the Rose please let me know if you have differing opinions to me if like for example this guy's written or number nine dream your favorites I'd be interested in know why and please feel free to recommend me any other books based on my enjoyment of David Mitchell thank you for watching and I will see you the next video bye

43 thoughts on “David Mitchell | Author Spotlight

  1. hi, you have convinced me that authors and books are universal, although I do not know your language very well . Also you encouraged me to read books in different customs. Thank you for your all contribution. I look forward to your new videos.

  2. Before watching this i'd read cloud atlas (adored) and the bone clocks followed by slade house (mixed feelings). It inspired me to read the thousand autumns and I just finished it and absolutely loved it, so thank you for the nudge your video provided I really urge you to go for a re read I think it's got some of Mitchell's most beautiful prose and funniest dialogue (which is saying something) and the extent to which this ties into the bone clocks was a really interesting surprise, I'd love to know the genesis of the lore from the bone clocks and whether the plot from a thousand autumns inspired it or it was already fully formed ( I suspect the latter). Anyways loved the video and thanks for nudging me towards my best read this year. Which reminds me also just read assassins apprentice after watching the robin hobb overview which I also really enjoyed. Keep up the author spotlights they're some of my favourites!

  3. i have only read number9dream and it was amazing loved it so much – but i actually liked the main story about eiji miwake the best and sometimes the side stories could be hard to get through – right now i really like to read newer stuff about newer worlds im kinda fed up with all the retro old stuff and perhaps thats why i am kinda scared of reading for example cloud atlas because it just seems like a lot is going on back in history – but i would really like to read more i think just because i had such a good time with number9dream – i am in general really interested in magic realism and ive read all haruki murakamis books that are translated to danish – i really just want to read some nice magic realism – thanks for the video – jl

  4. Hello there! I'm from Italy and in the last couple of years I’ve been falling for David Mitchell’s writing and his sublime works.
    This summer I’m re-reading some of my favourite ones and trying to discover more about him through interviews and other stuff I can find on YouTube, that’s why I found you; and I LOVED your video!
    I think that my absolute favourite is “The Bone Clocks” (that I’m currently re-reading) followed by “Number9dream” and “Cloud Atlas”. Sonmi’s story was the theme of my high school’s ‘tesina’, a kind of research/project we have to present as part of our final exam.
    I’ve read them all (unfortunately not the “1000 autumns of Jacob de Zoet” because I’m not very into historical fiction and it is practically unfindable here) and I’m going to re-read “Slade House” in Italian when it finally comes out here, later this year. Did you like it? I absolutely loved it! I have to admit that I found “Ghostwritten” not disappointing, but a bit weak, just like you, while yet fascinating.
    Can’t wait to read more of his writing and I’ve just subscribed to your channel, keep these good videos coming! 😀

  5. I'm about 3/4 of the way through The Bone Clocks right now! 🙂 (a friend bought it for me as a holiday gift). It's my first David Mitchell book, and I'm so into it! I would say I do have a preference for some of the sections over others, but I am definitely very very interested in where it's all going.

    I love his writing style, and I love that, with pretty much all of the characters narrating each section so far, I've started off finding them annoying/terrible people and then they grow in this really satisfying way, where they genuinely learn from their mistakes or at least develop genuine feelings that allow you to get on their side.

    It's hard for me to even make a final judgment quite yet because I feel like, depending on how it all concludes, I could be like "that was mindblowing and brilliant!!" or just "nice, that was a really good read!"- it just depends how well it's all wrapped up haha. But in any case, the writing style in itself is great 🙂

    I haven't read Cloud Atlas, but I saw the movie and thought it was a really ambitious and interesting concept, so I'll have to tackle the book at some point too!

  6. I'm extremely late to this video but felt I had to comment as I have finally picked up Cloud Atlas and fallen in love! I remember seeing it in the book shops when I was at uni and it had just been released but I had so many books to read for my literature course that I had no time for any others. I've had the latest edition sitting on my shelf for about a year (yes like everyone else I was intimidated too). It took booking to see him at a talk next week that finally pushed me to read it. I'm just over half way through and I adore it. The variety of styles and themes and the interesting connections have bowled me over. It's like a hybrid of a long novel and short story collection where the stories are so different yet connected. I've already read slade house which I also enjoyed but I feel I need to read the bone clocks to fully appreciate one of the characters in that novella. Can't wait to read more of his work. Great video too. More author spotlights please!

  7. I've never read his books but I'd love to try the bone clocks. I just watched a short documentary on how david Mitchell came about translating the reason I jump. He seems like such a nice guy! I was impressed with his Japanese too.

  8. Does Robert Frobisher appear in any books other than Cloud Atlas ? His story just captivated me…

  9. Ah shoot! I couldn't think of how I knew Mitchell's name till you pulled up Cloud Atlas. Disappointed by the movie, but by now I've pushed most of the plot out of my mind; I should give the novel a try!

  10. I'm actually guilt of seeing the movie before reading the book, but I start with Cloud Atlas and I love it so much! The recently I've read The bone clocks ( so amazing!). Thanks for the recommendation probably my next will be Number9dream 🙂

  11. David Mitchell has always been one of those authors I've wanted to try, but never knew where to start – Cloud Atlas has intrigued me for the longest time, but I've been put off by so many people saying it is such a difficult read. The Bone Clocks sounded interesting, and if I'm being perfectly honest I think I bought it in hardcover solely for that absolutely delicious cover! I was in a charity shop at the weekend and picked up The Thousand Autumns (again, drawn to that similar cover style!), so I might start with that one seeing as you advice to in the video. Would you recommend watching Cloud Atlas the movie before reading the book?? R x

    www.confessionsofabookgeek.com

  12. I went Cloud Atlas-Ghostwritten-The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet-The Bone Clocks, currently reading Number9dream and have Black Swan Green waiting to go.
    I think he's a brilliant author. His works have really stuck out with me and I love how he plays with narrative. I actually really liked Ghostwritten. Even with the issues that come from a first novel, I thought it was really well done. It was the Bone Clocks I enjoyed least, though it's not really easy to say why. I think I maybe didn't enjoy the fantasy elements of it too much, mainly because the bulk of it comes up fairly close to the end. Still a good book though.

  13. Love this series of videos, they're so helpful and informative! I would have to say I'm in the "intimidated" camp, so I'll probably start with The Thousand Autumns. 🙂

  14. I love listening to you explaining and reviewing books; your voice is so nice and you are so eloquent! You manage to put your opinions into words so well, it's impressive.

    Also, I am Dutch, and 'Zoet' is pronounced as 'Zoot' 🙂

  15. I loved this video and the chance to learn so much about an author. I only have The Bone Clocks on my shelves and haven't read it yet. I don't know what order I might read his books in but I do know that I will read them all. I love that there is an interconnection between them all in some way.

  16. Jacob de zoet would be pronounced kind of like "Jakub de Sut"  (literally translated it means Jacob "the sweet" but sweet like the taste, not the personality trait), and even with your explanation the book intrigued me, it sounds weird and I love weird books!

  17. Thank you for this video! I've been wanting to read David Mitchell for a while, but I'm a little intimidated by people saying his writing is confusing. I was going to read the books in the order they were published, but based on your suggestions and my gut feeling, I think I'm going to jump right into Cloud Atlas. It's the one I'm most excited to read anyways, so we'll see how it goes from there 🙂 I hope you do more author spotlight videos in the future, they're great!

  18. Loved this! It's absolutely ridiculous that I haven't read anything by him yet! The only one I own is Cloud Atlas, but I've had it for years. I knew about the interlinking stories in his books, but I had no idea that extended from book to book too. The anecdote about him connecting novellas together to make his books is really fascinating too. I love when authors do different things!

  19. I went to UKC and I had no idea David Mitchell studied there!
    That copy of Bone Clocks is beautiful, I keep meaning to read some David Mitchell and I hear that some of Bone Clocks is set on the Isle of Sheppey which is where I am from, so I definitely need to give that a go!

  20. I own Cloud Atlas but put it off, because I'm scared I'll find it to much. 

    I've heard of The Reason I jump though. Seems like a very interesting read.

  21. Have you figured out what all the six's are about in Cloud Atlas? in terms of literary symbolism, they're everywhere. Also does he have characters jump out of windows in his other books too, it seems to happen a suspicious amount of times…

  22. Thanks for this video, Mercedes! So helpful and interesting! Certainly made me more excited about reading Cloud Atlas soon. Not read any David Mitchell yet, and I'd heard that Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks were connected but had no idea that all of his books were! x

  23. Great Videos! I read cloud atlas a while ago and it has been one of my favourite books ever since. The end almost made me cry, I thought it was so beautiful. The only other book I read by him is A thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet, I really disliked it at the time, but I was around 15 back then and I think I have to give it another try. Thank you for reminding me of this great author!

  24. I got to see David Mitchell at the Hay Festival last week! Amazing talk. He was so optimistic about writing and books and publishing. It was really nice to hear him talk about it all. It was hilarious because he read out a part of his book that's set at the Hay Festival and he was like "wow this is getting a bit postmodern, isn't it?' :'D I didn't realise he was doing signings otherwise I would've had my books signed! I feel like kind of a cheat though because I haven't read his books even though I own two of them. Planning to read The Thousand Autumns this month though!

  25. I really need to give Mitchell another go! What you said about his school experience etc intrigues me, often I tend to assume all of the literary writers that are hailed as amazing are Oxbridge so it's interesting to read someone who felt that they didn't excel at school

  26. I actually just read David Mitchell for the first time ever in April, which was The Bone Clocks and I completely loved it. I just started Cloud Atlas and I can't wait to read the rest of his work.

  27. So glad you did an author spotlight on David Mitchell! He's an author I'm very excited about at the moment. Like you, I started cloud atlas in my teens and never got past the first section. I'm currently half way through the bone clocks though and am loving it and planning to read cloud atlas soon as well 😀 x

  28. Ambitious video! Im looking forward to read his book "Cloud Atlas". I saw the movie and didn't really get it. Hopefully the book will explain it more detailed 🙂 Then I'll probably have to read another book as well. Because the interactions seems so interesting and cool to experience. I love reading authors who're complex in their writing and storytelling. Thanks for great recommendations!

  29. Love these Spotlight videos. I have never read anything from him (I know crazy) since Cloud Atlas is kind of a must for a lot of readers. Will be buying some David Mitchell on my next book buy for sure.

  30. I am so happy you did a spotlight on David Mitchell. I own three of his books and am now inspired to pick him up among the piles of books I own. And I have been putting off watching the Cloud Atlas because I need to read the book.

  31. This has been so helpful to me. I love weird and complex books but like you first picked up cloud atlas around 15 and got about 10 pages in and gave up. Since then, even though I love the blurbs, I have avoided David Mitchell. Time to try again me thinks!

  32. Sadly, Mitchell does absolutely nothing for me. I really hate multi-narrative stories, so it's no surprise. Tried to read Cloud Atlas and just gave up barely into it. Maybe I'll give it a try one day – I was probably too young (around 16). Love your author spotlights!

  33. I knew almost nothing about him so found this very informative and useful. I've been curious about who is and what he writes about for awhile but what with all other books hadn't got around to it. Really good job with this.

  34. Wonderful! I love overviews. I have The Bone Clocks and Thousand Autumns and will definitely read those from him at least. Loving your content recently, dear!

  35. Super. I’ve yet to read Black Swan Green and read half of Ghostwritten on a long train journey and never got back to it. Couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said in general. I’m still very fond on number9dream as it was the first I’d read. He has also had some short stories on the Guardian, though I think some of them have been taken down. Here’s one: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/aug/14/david-mitchell-summer-short-story Might be worth a searching for more if you’re interested. A couple of them were done for the artists who designed the original book covers (I think) and you can even buy limited edition prints with the story enclosed. http://www.kaiandsunny.com/new/print_for_sale/box_set_caught_by_the_nest_series03.php. He also worked with Kate Bush on her stage show in The Apollo maybe? (again my memory is a little hazy, I seem to recall he was quite circumspect about what he had contributed). Anyway, loads of this was new to me, I’m so glad you decided to do it. He’s definitely one of my favourites.

  36. I plan to read Cloud Atlas very, very soon. David Mitchell is one of these people that I'm so excited about and have yet to read, despite owning three of his books. I feel like I'm doing a little dance with him, because I'm sure I'm going to love his work and am therefore putting off the pleasure of reading his books – am I making sense, does this sound like I'm being a tease to, er, myself? Ha! I'm afraid I did a bad thing, and I watched Cloud Atlas at the cinema and fell in love. Like, serious, actual love. The themes throughout are so beautiful, and I cried like a baby. I really can't wait to read him, but y'know, I do appear to be waiting. Because I'm weird. xx

  37. As you know, I read "Cloud Atlas" earlier this year and had a hard time getting through it. I own "The Bone Clocks" and I'm very interested to pick that one up – especially after watching this author spotlight which makes me more aware of David Mitchell and his writing 🙂

  38. Thank you so much for this video! I've had Cloud Atlas for a while now, and have been putting it off because I am a little intimidated, if I'm being honest. I think I will start with that one though, just not quite this second. I'll gear myself up and wait for a point where I can devote a lot of time and concentration to it 🙂

  39. I've only read Cloud Atlas by him, I liked it but didn't particularly enjoy the reading experience. I love when an author's books are interconnected like you describe. It's one of my favourite things about my own favourite author, Stephen King. I love it when familiar character's pop up in other books or events from other stories are referenced. It really helps to expend a fictional universe and makes you feel that you are 'in on it' if you recognize the characters and references.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *