Archives for posts with tag: Location: S3DL

Ghostwritten (I), 2013

Ghostwritten (II), 2013

Ghostwritten (III), 2013

The first shot was taken near Museum Street, the second off Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the third on Great Queen Street, London, UK.

Ghostwritten  is a novel by David Mitchell. It was published in 1999.

It was David Mitchell’s first published book, and was critically acclaimed. He’s since achieved greater commercial and critical success with Number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), which were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Here’s what Lawrence Norfolk says on the back cover: “The Sarin nerve-gas attack in the Tokyo subway leads to a love-affair between two semi-Japanese juvenile jazz-buffs, thence to a tea-shack in revolutionary China. From there we are whisked into a rogue soul’s spiritual progress through Mongolia. Art fraud and gangsterism in St. Petersburg follow, then philandering, gambling and bad indie rock in London…At various points Ghostwritten could be called a post-Cold War thriller, a love story (or several), a cult expose, a radio-show transcript, an island romance, a compendium of creation-myths, and – unsurprisingly – a ghost story.”

And here’s the first paragraph:

Who was blowing on the nape of my neck?

To be honest, I read this when it came out and I can’t remember it that well. Whenever I’ve considered reading it again, I get this feeling that I’m not going to enjoy it, because my overall impression the first time was that this was a writer showing off. He’s extremely adept at writing from different points of view (see above), but my memory (failing so don’t trust it) is of a book that was not much more than the sum of its parts. I’m sure someone will put me right.

In our house, this book can be found: study, left-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

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Thanks to the usual suspects (John, Deanne and Terry) for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our last collaboration can be found a few posts back.

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If you like good prose, I thoroughly recommend you catch up with the following blogs: Frivolous Monsters (hilarious), People Places and Bling! (all round brilliant), and Unbound Boxes Limping Gods (a fantastic narrative, beautifully illustrated).

Species of Spaces, 2012

This was taken in Clock House, Beckenham, UK.

Species of Spaces and Other Pieces  is an anthology of essays and autobiography by Georges Perec. It was first published as Espèces d’espaces by Galilée in France. Penguin published it in the UK in 1997.

Georges Perec approached writing like a game. Exhibit A: his first novel, Les Choses: Une histoire des années soixante (Things: A Story of the Sixties), 1965 is written entirely in the conditional tense, emphasising the fact that its characters do not hold as much importance as the things described. Exhibit B: La Disparition (A Void), 1969 is a 300-page French novel written entirely without the letter ‘e’ (amazingly, Gilbert Adair translated it into English in 1995, and won the Scott Moncrieff prize for his troubles).

You can read more about Georges Perec here. But if you really want the skinny on Georges I recommend: Georges Perec: A Life in Words by David Bellos (1993).

I’ve read every translation I can lay my hands on – I’m a fan. Despite often being experimental, Perec’s books are very accessible. Species of Spaces is a fun place to start, but Life A Users Manual is generally acknowledged as his masterpiece.

(Perec was a member of the Oulipo group (made up of mainly French writers and mathematicians), who sought to create works using constrained writing techniques (one of which, hilariously, was to write poetry in Great Ape – a language Edgar Rice Burroughs made up for his simian characters). )

Here’s the beginning of Species of Spaces:

Figure 1: Map of the Ocean (taken from Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark)










In our house, the book can be found: study, left-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

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Thank you  John and Deanne for making me think about titles. Extra thanks to Deanne for  tag ideas etc. Ta too to Terry for sending me bookshelfwards in search of ideas, and of course to Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator.