The first few paragraphs of TOKYO the thought that immediately popped into my head was "this has a distinct jazz vibe!". Lo and behold, a few pages in, the character Satoru talks about how much jazz means to him. P58 if you're reading the paperback.
"My place comes into existence through jazz.Jazz makes a fine place. The colours and families there come not from the eye but from sounds..." So good. I love jazz. Sydney used to have such a good jazz scene. I'd imagine there's still one somewhere, but it's not the same.
I can't help but think of Haruki Murakami reading this. And that is my greatest compliment. You know this. If you'd handed me this book, and perhaps especially this chapter with the cover missing, 100% I'd have said it was Murakami.
I love the description of Tokyo. How it swallows you up. What a behemoth it is. How everyone needs an escape due the lack of space & privacy, the need to internalize in order to be free by making a space inside their heads (gym, internet, manga, doomsday cults...).
"People with no place are those who end up throwing themselves onto the tracks." Good lord.
So lucky that Satoru has jazz.
I can feel this is going to be amazing. I can't wait to see how it unfolds. How the different cities will link together to create the final story.
PS: Pardon me! I've just realised I completely missed talking about Chapter 1 OKINAWA. Maybe you can kickoff with that 🤗
Yes you did miss chapter 1 completely Natto. What I love about the first chapter is, and I know this is obvious, but I love how it shows how easy that these cults can conscript people. Poor old Quasar was a lonely introverted kid, bullied(what about the whole class, including the teacher pretending he was dead) And look at what the cult has done to him. Believing, without a doubt, all the hyperbole that "His Serenity" tells him. It opens your eyes a little to the power that somebody can exert over others.
And as we discussed the other night. When he makes that phone call and this phone call then bleeds into the second chapter. And that phone call is what brought Tomoyo and Satoru together. If he had not gone back for that phone call they would never have met.
Then in the third chapter Neal keeps seeing them together and wondering what they are doing and where they are going.
I thought you would like Satoru working in the record shop and was wondering if you might recognize the many songs he lists. Mitchell always seems to work music into all of his books. And not just flippantly but sometimes integral to the narrative.
Also the way he switches genres effortlessly. The fourth chapter feels like historical fiction. And the racism between the Japanese and the Chinese, and then the Koreans.
To be honest it has been so long since I have read this that I am not completely sure why it is called "Ghostwritten" but I seem to remember something being revealed in the last chapter relating to the title. We will have to wait and see.
Completely agree with you about Murakami (and to think I had not even read him until you introduced me).
Also agree with the descriptive writing. He makes Tokyo feel cramped and claustrophobic. Especially that passage where he is saying there is movement in every direction around you, even above with overhead road and rail.
Something I did pick up was he references spiders and their webs in his writing
"A spider spun the dimness between the rafters" - what a sentence!
"His skin had less life in it than a husk in a spider's web"
His descriptive writing is such fun to read.