British writer David Mitchell (1969-) is recognized as a new generation of novel masters in European and American literary circles, “opening a new model and style for English novels in the 21st century”. His work is full of global perspective and historical depth – from the South Pacific in the 19th century to Bruges and California in the 20th century, from contemporary Japan to far-flung England, from the old woman at the foot of the holy mountain in Sichuan to the art thief in St. Petersburg To the terrorist attackers on the Japanese subway, and finally to an exotic future world… Mitchell is like “writing against a globe”, roaming between different time and space, advancing and retreating freely.
Mitchell is a postmodern visionary, often constructing turbulent worlds in his work. “He weaves a gorgeous narrative labyrinth like Paul and Auster, and buries ghosts and ghosts between the lines like Haruki Murakami, but he is tougher in style than Murakami and more varied in subject matter than Auster”, perhaps , as the “New York Times” commented, “Mitchell is undoubtedly a genius. He will put his hand on the wheel of the dream-making machine when he writes, and at the same time his ambition is like magma, flowing through every page of the work.”
Half . A Japanese
Mitchell was born in Malvern, Worcestershire, England in 1969, where he spent a shy, silent childhood and an unremarkable early life. As a child, Mitchell was very introverted, had a little stutter, and liked to keep his thoughts in his heart. He started writing short stories on his own when he was about 10 years old, and he tried writing poetry as a teenager. Afterwards, he went to the University of Kent to study English and American literature, and later studied comparative literature and obtained a master’s degree.
All the “fateful” turns happened when he was 24 years old. When Mitchell came to Hiroshima alone with luggage, his initial idea was to fulfill his travel dream. From far away England to Japan in the eastern hemisphere, from the world of bread and butter to a country accustomed to sushi and tatami, this young British guy not only successfully adapted to the oriental way of life, but also fortunately harvested sweet love and married A Japanese wife who was a bass player in a rock band. However, as he repeated his work as an English teacher year after year, Mitchell became more and more panicked about the future. “The first few years of life were happy and casual, and the income was okay, but seeing many people in Japan living in the same The place was doing the same thing for so many years, it seemed like I was stuck, and I started to fear that I was still teaching English in my thirties and forties, so I made up my mind to write. Whenever I finished a good scene or dialogue, I It’s a lot of fun.” Since then, Mitchell has officially started his literary career.
After a long-term foreign life, Mitchell has long returned to the UK and now has a stable family and a good income. For him, however, the change in his worldview and literary outlook was determined by his life in Japan. Mitchell once said, “When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until I went to Japan and lived there for a long time that I was really attracted to literature.” From 24 to At the age of 32, these eight years are the stage of a person’s growth, which almost made Mitchell half Japanese. Due to years of exposure, Mitchell has the modest demeanor of an oriental gentleman: although he has lived in the UK for a long time, he does not like beer but loves to drink tea; he will take out Japanese wet tissues from his bag before eating to clean his hands; when he speaks, his intonation Softly, with a half-bow when thanking…
In life, Mitchell was always “to listen with a sincere and humble heart”. With outstanding literary achievements, Mitchell was included in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007” and was the only novelist on the list. When he came home excitedly to announce the good news, his mother and wife laughed wildly, and “instructed” him: “Pour me a cup of tea, Mr. Influence, and some cookies.” His Japanese wife once joked: “David is in The family is definitely not the most important person, it can only be ranked fifth at most.” The reason why it is fifth is because the first is his wife, the second and third are occupied by two children respectively, and the third is occupied by his two children. The four are the most commonly used appliances, and it will be his turn at the end. Mitchell was always grateful to his mother and wife because “they kept my whole life humble” and “only bad novelists believe they are great writers”.
In addition, Mitchell was deeply influenced by the idea of oriental reincarnation, believing that “life and even the world are cyclical, and the result of human existence is just repeating its own mistakes”. When asked by the media, “If you believe in the reincarnation of the soul, what is the previous life and the next life?”, Mitchell smiled and replied, “Maybe I will be a gardener in my next life. ”
A frequent visitor on the literary award list
In fact , the “Mr. Influence” who has stepped out of his home is just as prosperous in the European and American literary circles, and is sought after all over the world. Since his debut, he has become a regular on the lists of various Western literary awards, and his genius writing is often juxtaposed with famous names: Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Joyce, Naboco Husband, Borges, Pynchon, Salinger, Chandler, Haruki Murakami… This series of lists not only reflects the exaggeration of Mitchell’s fans, but also shows his diverse creative outlook.
In 1999, Mitchell published his first novel, Ghostwriting, which won the Rice Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the Guardian Debut Award. The novel consists of 9 stories that take place in different time and space “traveling” each other. The stories are like “ghosts” sneaking freely in Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong, Sichuan Leshan, Mongolia and other places. independent of each other. Among them, the character prototype and story structure of the chapter “Holy Mountain” originated from Mitchell’s trip to China in 1997. He started from Hong Kong and visited Macau, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Leshan. As a debut novel, Ghost Writing is definitely a beautiful way to enter the literary world that many people dream of. The “Daily Telegraph” book reviewer said: “This is the best debut novel I have ever read.” Not yet 30 years old. As the thirties of life approach, Mitchell embarks on a smooth road full of light and glory.
In 2001, his second novel “Dream No. 9” was successfully published and was nominated for the 2002 Booker Prize. The book tells the story of a young Japanese man looking for his biological father. He wanders the streets of Tokyo, trying to discover the truth about his father’s life and solve his doubts. As his mind travels between reality and fantasy, readers gradually blur the boundaries between the real world and the dream world. “Nine Dreams” once again demonstrated the author’s ability to freely mobilize different styles and dramatic use of literary devices, and Mitchell was also selected by Granta magazine in 2003 for the “20 Best British Young People”. novelist”.
Mitchell’s fourth novel, Black Swan on Oz, published in 2006, won the title of “American Library Association’s Best Young Adult Book” and was a finalist for the Costa Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. This is a semi-autobiographical novel about 7J: the experiences of a 13-year-old boy in a small English village in the early 1980s over a 13-month period, with each chapter describing a story that happened within a month. The stuttering teenager created by Mitchell has his own shadow to some extent. Mitchell once said frankly that stammering may be his faint motivation for writing when he was young, because “the child who does not express verbally will have the desire to express in writing, the stammerer is better at making sentences, and it is the stammering teenager who made me who I am now a writer. “.
Mitchell’s most recent book, Jacob, De Zoot, is a “magnificent epic adventure under the world’s picture”, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Award upon publication. The background of the story is an artificial floating island in Nagasaki Port during Japan’s lock-down period in the 18th century, where cunning businessmen, treacherous translators, and high-priced prostitutes roamed here. A series of thrilling events took place in his writings, combining elements of history, power, forbidden love, superstition, etc., to depict a picture of all beings under the collision of Eastern and Western cultures at the end of the 18th century. It also captures a pivotal moment in the history of the Netherlands as it gradually loses its colonial advantage.”
In an interview with the Paris Review, an engineer
in the , Mitchell pointed out that plot, characters, themes and structure are the four elements that make up a novel, and various techniques for expressing plot and characters have been excavated by predecessors. The theme needs to adapt to the development of the times, so the only thing left for the writer is to innovate in structure. Because of the peculiar structure of the novel and the turbulent fantasy world constructed in the work, Mitchell is known as the “engineer of the writer’s world”, and in his works, the non-fiction “Cloud Atlas” is the one that wins by the structure. genus.
In 2004, Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” won the British National Book Award for Best Novel and the Richard and Judy Book Club Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Booker Award, Nebula Award, and Clark Award. This marks that Mitchell’s life has reached a whole new level. In 2012, American Studios brought the film of the same name to the screen. As soon as the trailer for the movie “Cloud Atlas” came out, Mitchell’s book jumped from more than 2,000 to sixth on Amazon.com. Mitchell once said, “Cloud Atlas has become my most famous book, and probably will always be my most famous book, because it was made into a movie.” At least for now, that’s true.
The novel “Cloud Atlas” has 11 chapters and tells 6 stories. The narrative level is like a Russian nesting doll. The first and last chapters of the book are like the outermost layer of the nesting doll, telling the first story “Adam, Yu Ying’s Pacific Diary” – In the South Pacific circa 1850, American lawyer Adam Ewing witnessed various shocking and bloody scenes on his return from the Chatham Islands by boat; Chapters 2 and 10″ “Letter from Siddheim” tells the second story – in 1931, in Siddheim, Belgium, the penniless young British composer Robert and Frobisher experienced many love and hatred under the master of music; The third story, “Half-Life – Louisa Ray’s First Mystery”, consists of Chapters 3 and 9, and recounts 1975, in Buenas, Yebas, California, USA, tabloid reporter Louisa, Ray Investigating corruption and hired murder cases in nuclear power plant projects with great danger; chapters 4 and 8 are the fourth story “Timothy, Cavendish’s ordeal” – early 21st century, Britain, was Underworld publisher Timothy, Cavendish is under house arrest in a nursing home, miserable; Chapters 5 and 7 tell the fifth story “Xingmei-451’s Recorder” – Anti- Utopian Era, New Seoul, Song Kee Restaurant Clone Waiter Sing Mi-451 rebels against the society that creates and exploits the clone population; Chapter 6 “Thoughts and All After” is like the innermost layer of a nesting doll, an independent narrative The complete sixth story – the doomsday period after the fall of civilization, Hawaii, the shepherd boy Zachary who lost his father and the survivors of high-tech civilization meet unexpectedly…
Mitchell narrates the first half of each story in turn, The second half of the story is then told in reverse order, and the book has a peculiar structure of 1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2-1, earning the author the title of “an engineer in the writer’s world”. title. Mitchell is undoubtedly a veritable engineer, because he uses the pen as a tool, and never forgets to add bricks to his works, constructing a fantasy world that spans time and space, and creating immortal works of art. If the vivid characters, the intricate storyline, and the vivid and profound themes are the raw materials of the building, then the peculiar structural arrangement is the extraordinary design of the engineer Mitchell, which brings a unique artistic charm to his works.
”Cloud Atlas” crosses the boundaries of time and space. The ingenious storyline is intertwined with the eternal human nature to form a gorgeous cloud map, which also constitutes the fantasy world described by Mitchell. These 11 The 6 stories composed of chapters are like the stars scattered in the vast night sky, exuding their unique brilliance at different times, but seemingly inadvertent clues, such as birthmarks, tattoos, names that appear in each story, buttons, etc. And so on, become the thread that ties these stars together. As Mitchell puts it, “My novels are interlocked in structure, and each seemingly independent story is actually inextricably linked.” These stories , through different inheritance methods, it is passed on to the protagonists of the next story, and changes their destiny, thereby affecting the progress of mankind.
No matter when and where, human beings are in pursuit of freedom and love. However, with the development of human civilization and the expansion of desire, they have become more and more difficult to obtain. The racial system in the 19th century, the decline of European civilization in the early 20th century, the Cold War and intrigue between the great powers in the later period, and the oppression of human clones in the 22nd century to satisfy their own selfish desires eventually led to the destruction of human civilization and a return to cannibalism. Dark Ages. In Mitchell’s view, the process of human civilization is not linear, but reincarnation. Therefore, the crisis of human civilization and the world has become impossible to ignore.
”Cloud Atlas” covers the skies of Europe and America like clouds. Mitchell can be said to be one of the fastest rising and most marketable novelists in the European and American novel world. His talent and talent are highly recognized. British novelist and 1990 Booker Prize winner AS Byatt once said: “David Mitchell entices readers to get on a roller coaster – at first they may be hesitant, but in the end, it will It’s a journey they will never forget.” Mitchell’s work is of great geographic breadth and historical depth, and he always shows his extraordinary talent for navigating fiction from the quirky and changing narrative traps. It is also this that allows him to be well-received by judges in the field of literature and favored by readers in the market.