Ha ha ha, that was pretty good me completely missing talking about Chapter 1 right 🤣 I was so in love with Chapter 2 TOKYO.

I love that it's set in a jazz store. I love the references to jazz artists and jazz standards. Especially when he mentioned Billie Holiday and Chet Baker.

"I felt in a Billie Holiday mood. 'Lady in Satin' - recorded at night with heroin and a bottle of gin the year before she died. A doomed, Octoberish oboe of a voice."

They both had tragic lives off the stage. Both ravaged by demons and drugs. Both had seriously sad endings. Chet Baker's is one you wouldn't believe. But I'll let you look that up and discover it for yourself. Listen to some music while you do. It's the only way to truly understand how atmospheric this chapter is. By immersing yourself in the jazz.

"I thought of what she had said as I put on a Chet Baker disc. A trumpet with nowhere urgent to be and all day to get there..."

You know what else you should listen to, that I reckon you'd like. There's a little group called the Zoot Sims Quartet 🎷

Two books I'd suggest:

There's something about jazz that is just so true. It comes deep from the heart and from the soul. It can be deeply melancholic and equally high and sunny. It's the best.


You know what struck me last night as I was re-visiting the first three chapters (adding my highlights - mint green highlighter - and writing in the margins - purple pen - he he), the reference to the spider in Chapter 1 OKINAWA. The one that Quasar kept in a jar and then wept and wept and wept when it died (but did he prick holes in the jar lid?). Anyhoo, that borderline insanity reminded me of the character in "DRACULA", the one who also kept spiders. I can't recall the character's name, but it was eerie. He too, kept waiting for "The Master" to show up.

I wonder if that was in Mitchell's mind when he wrote that scene?

Back to TOKYO. Yes! I love how you also picked up that if Satoru had not answered the phone (which I thought was hysterical with the cryptic message for Qausar "The dog needs to be fed" ( WT?!!) he would never have met Tomoyo. He would've gone home, and she would've come to a closed, dark shop.

It was kismet. Serendipity. It was meant to be. I have a feeling he does a lot of that in his books.

And the SERPENT. On the cover of my book. It's the one that Tomoyo drew in ink on Satoru's arm.

"I rolled up my shirt and looked on my forearm. There was a snake which Tomoyo had drawn on with a blue pen yesterday afternoon. I asked her, why a snake? She'd laughed at me like she was in on a joke that I wasn't in on."

What do you think the snake was symbolic of? I wrote in the margin "Garden of Eden"?

I just love those two together. It makes me happy. And I love how Mitchell worked in that they end up making an appearance in Chapter 3. HONG KONG where they share the table with Neal Brose. And how envious he is of them of their youth and lack of worry. Envious of their love, not fettered by any disappointments. Just happy to be with each other.

Chapter 3. HONG KONG
What a HEAVY chapter. Now this Chapter reminded me of Irvine Welsh. It had the vibe. Of a character slowly but surely unravelling.
Before I forget, did he truly die at the end of the chapter, when he was going to visit the Big Buddha statue? I wasn't 100% sure.

That was a tough chapter. His falling apart. Realizing the emptiness of his existence. I liked the frequent reference to him glancing at his Rolex. Such a symbol of absolute wealth. Yet his life was empty. And his time was up (ha ha, see what I did there). Seriously though, I wrote in my notes at the front of the chapter "Portrait of a Man Unravelling". As that's what we were slowly but surely watching.

The disintegration of his marriage to Katy. How cruel was the line " 'Goodbye,' I said. 'It was nice being married to you.'" That was just awful. Appalling. Mean. Below the belt. He instantly regretted saying it, but....

A lot of racial prejudice in this chapter too. With all of the ex-pats working there having maids. Even though most wouldn't have had back in the UK. It was just the thing to do. And the maid's absolute hatred of Katy. Absolute contempt of her. As if the roles were revered and she was in charge.

What about the child ghost? Hmmmm....What did you think about that? That would seriously mess with your mind too. Do you think that contributed to their breaking up? Just one more thing that couldn't be dealt with?

I love the scene where he threw his briefcase over the cliff. I could just picture it, in slowwwwwwwwwwwww motion. Tumbling and cartwheeling down the rockface. He was FREE!!! I think ultimately that's what he was seeking. He was just so over the hypocrisy and stress of his working life. Despite the amazing payroll, it was taking his soul away.

What about Account No. 1390931 and the mysterious Andrei Gregorski? Will he turn up later? Does he have something to do with the doomsday cult of Chapter 1?

So, again, did he truly die at the end of the chapter? "Thirty one years old and I am f*cking dying!"