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Summary

Winner of the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.
Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

An apocalyptic cult member carries out a gas attack on a rush-hour metro, but what connects him to a jazz buff in Tokyo?

A woman on a holy mountain talks to a tree, and the tree talks back, unaware of the effect the financial irregularities of a burnt-out lawyer will have on her life.

Add to this a Mongolian gangster, a redundant English spy in Petersburg with a knack for forging masterpieces, a despondent "zookeeper", a nuclear scientist, a ghostwriter, a ghost, and a late night New York DJ whose hard-boiled scepticism has been his undoing. All of them have tales to tell, and all must play their part as they are caught up in the inescapable forces of cause and effect.

©1999 David Mitchell (P)2007 Hodder & Stoughton Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"One of the best first novels I've read in a long time...I couldn't put it down." (Mail on Sunday)
"Nine disparate but interconnected tales (and a short coda) in Mitchell's impressive debut examine 21st-century notions of community, coincidence, causality, catastrophe and fate....Mitchell's wildly variegated story can be abstruse and elusive in its larger themes, but the gorgeous prose and vibrant, original construction make this an accomplishment not to be missed." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • BANCHORY, United Kingdom
  • 06-05-07

Clever and thoughtful but the ending!

Well written and very impressive, but while I enjoyed the majority of the episodes, detail & imagination shone out, some of the episodes were less pleasing. The whole package I felt was let down by the ending. I feel sufficiently enlightened to comprehend the metaphysical aspect of the book, so I am concerned that I am missing something here in the ending. Perhaps another listener will enlighten us with regard to the ending. Well worth listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • MISS
  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • 02-02-13

It's abridged!

I didn't notice it was abridged and there doesn't seem to be an unabridged version on the site...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • S.M.Then
  • 10-02-13

Uneven and unsatisfactory

The stories set in the West were very good while those in the East were dull and meaningless. The links between the stories were tenuous.