15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Time will judge this a masterpiece, 14 Mar 2001
Neither a traditional novel or a book of short stories, it is in a genre of its own. A book of interrelated episodes. The episodes are linked in terms of themes - chance, identity, relationships. The stories show how the consequences of one character's actions influence the events in another chapter. For example, the gas bomber of chapter one makes a call which is answered by the CD shop worker of chapter two. This action makes him late closing and as a result he meets the girl he has been dreaming of and they start a relationship. In a more sinister vein Rudi the art thief ends up murdered as a result of Neal's death in chapter three, and his money laundering operation being discovered. Ultimately the book is about chance and how our lives are dictated by chance e.g. being in a certain place and being drawn into the effect of another person's actions. The chapters are all named after places but the place is immaterial. What is important is the people and their relationships. A relationship is present when a person has an effect on another person; or the effect the actions of one person have on another e.g. the train they take decides whether they live or die. All actions have consequences and we must be aware of these and take responsibility for the outcome of our actions. Very moral! A brilliantly written, thoroughly enjoyable book - it offers us a new perspective from which to understand and interpret the world, and what more can a book do? I get the feeling that David Mitchell is not a well known author, however, I feel that this book will be viewed with increasing reverence over the next ten years.