My favourite author: David Mitchell

The weekly geek task this week is to talk about our favourite author and why we love them. 

My favourite author is David Mitchell – he is the only author where I have read and loved every single one of his books. Jose Saramago and Rohinton Mistry have the potential to knock him off the top spot, but as I haven’t read their entire back-catalogue yet I’m afraid they’ll have to languish in second and third place! 


My love for David Mitchell’s books began when I read Cloud Atlas as part of the Richard and Judy book club. I fell in love with his amazing ability to create several unique writing styles within the same book. By the time I read the section where the man becomes trapped in an old people’s home I was hooked by his ingenuity too. 

His writing is beautiful, but never complicated and packed with wonderful quotes:

A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.

My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops? 



I went on to read Ghostwritten and Number9Dream; they weren’t quite as good as Cloud Atlas, although Ghostwritten got close, but as these were his first books I’ll forgive him. Both of these contain elements of Japanese literature that I love. David Mitchell lived in Japan for a number of years and the influence of their culture is especially strong in these two novels. I love the way he has incorporated their folklore and unpredictability into his novels.


Black Swan Green was a big departure in style and theme. It is set in a small English village and describes the life of a young boy growing up in the 1980s. I think the fact that I was a child of the 80s gave this book a special appeal to me. I loved reminiscing about the sweets, music and clothes described in the book and the fact that I was gripped throughout, despite the gentle plot, shows the author’s talent. 


After waiting for 4 years I was very excited to hear that David Mitchell had a new book out later in the year. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet is released in the UK on 13th May. Yesterday I received a proof copy of it through the post. I was so happy! I think it is the highlight of my blogging career. I have already read the first few chapters and am loving it as much as I hoped I would.  I really hope that it wins the Booker Prize this year as I feel that he is one of the most talented authors alive today. He has been short listed twice before, but a win would give him a lasting place in literary history. I haven’t read anything else good enough this year, so I’ve got my fingers crossed!

Have you read any books by David Mitchell?

Which is your favourite?

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  1. Wendy says:

    Well, no surprise…but when I read the Weekly Geeks theme for this week, guess which writer IMMEDIATELY popped into my head? That’s right – Mitchell!! I’ve read everything except Number 9 Dream (which I just got from Amazon) and have loved everything he’s written. Like you, I am so excited about his newest book and can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it. Thanks for sharing about this brilliant and amazing author!

    1. Jackie says:

      Wendy, It is great to know that you love him as much as I do. I hope that you enjoy Number9Dream and Thousand Autumns – I am sure you will!

  2. That first quote is particularly apt for me considering I only managed halfway through Cloud Atlas…

    I’m excited to receive the proof and think it’s time to give David Mitchell another chance. I don’t think I’ll be reading all of the Booker longlist again this year but do intend on reading some and this one already has so much talk about it for the win.
    Depending how I get on I think I’ll read Black Swan Green afterwards, on your suggestion.

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I think I will read the Booker long list again this year, mainly because I enjoyed the long listed books more than most of the shortlisted ones last year.

      I’m pleased that you’re going to give him another chance – I’m sure you’ll enjoy his more normally structured books.

  3. Kristen says:

    I loved Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green as well. I have the other two but haven’t read them yet and am waiting with baited breath for Jakob.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kristen, If you loved those two then I’m sure you’ll love the rest – enjoy!

  4. Jackie, I haven’t read Mitchell but have been meaning to for a long time. The new one coming out is especially appealing to me but maybe I should read Cloud Atlas first at least, and then wait for the paperback of Jacob de Zoet.. Thanks for featuring Mitchell as I had no idea about his other books other than Ghostwritten which I’ve seen in the bookstore.

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, Sometimes it is great to know that you have a whole author still to enjoy. I’m sure you’ll love his books and look forward to reading your reviews.

  5. Stujallen says:

    i ve read most of them ,first heard of him about number 9 dream time ,but favourite book has to be black swan green as it reminded me so much of my childhood with things they did and ate etc etc ,lucky you bagging a proof

    1. Jackie says:

      Stujallen, I think Black Swan Green will be a special book to those of us who grew up in England at around that time. It perfectly captures the mood of the country. I’m pleased to find out that you loved it as much as I did.

  6. Sandy says:

    Well, I think I have found my new project. I’ve been missing out, obviously! His writing is beautiful. I think if I had to pick a favorite author, I would have to pick either Connie May (of course) or Sarah Waters. I haven’t read all of Waters works yet, but I’m getting close. I’m trying not to gobble them down too quickly, like I did Connie’s, or then I will have nothing left to dream about, except her next new book.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Sarah Waters is probably in my top 10, but the problem is that Little Stranger wasn’t quite up to scratch. I haven’t read many of her books as I’ve seen the TV adaptations of them and don’t like reading a book when I already know the plot. Hopefully I’ll forget the plot basics soon and get round to reading them.

  7. Vasilly says:

    I haven’t read anything by Mitchell but I did read the excerpt for his latest book and it sounds like something I need to read. Fingers cross that I receive an ARC. I would love to read. Cloud Atlas is on my TBR list.

    Happy reading!

    1. Jackie says:

      Vasilly, I hope that you decide to read Cloud Atlas soon – it is such a clever, original book. I look forward to reading your review.

  8. Meghan says:

    I knew Cloud Atlas was highly regarded, but I never really managed to read Mitchell for myself. Clearly, I should fix that! And this most recent book sounds really interesting to me, so I think I’ll try to get my hands on that.

    1. Jackie says:

      Meghan, I hope you decide to pick up one of his books soon. I think you’ll enjoy them.

  9. marc nash says:

    I do like Mitchell, though I think Ghostwritten is superior to Cloud Atlas which to me was all style and plot, but a bit lacking in a thematic glue to hold it altogether, whereas Ghostwritten had an integral intactness about it.

    I would put Mitchell up there with David Peace as the best 2 current British writers. Peace is extraordinary with what he does with the written word and really takes you inside the heads of his characters like no other writer. Interestingly he too spends half of his working year in japan and is 2/3 of the way through a trilogy of Japanese themed books.

    My all time favourite writer is the American Don Dellilo. But for now I’m leaving my thoughts just on contemporary British writers. Special mention to Jeanette Winterson who is a wonderful writer.

    1. Jackie says:

      marc, I think the Japanese culture is fascinating and their literature, films etc have a quality you don’t find in the west.

      I haven’t read any David Peace yet (some people have told me that the banging sounds in his book drove them mad!) I do have a copy of one here though and am tempted to try it soon – especially now you have compared the two authors.

  10. Verity says:

    I LOVED black swam green but none of his others have really appealed and not sure if this one will either. You’ll have to persuade me with your review.

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, I can see why the others wouldn’t appeal to you. His new book seems to be a more linear story, so perhaps you could give it a try? I’ll let you know when I’ve finished it.

  11. I should do this week’s Weekly Geeks, as I haven’t done one of ’em in the longest time!

    I love Mitchell, albeit contrary to your opinion, I preferred Number9Dream over Cloud Atlas. It might be a result of the first-book-by-the-author-syndrome? I haven’t read Ghostwritten or Black Swan Green yet, although I plan to read the latter in the next couple of months.

    As for Rohinton Mistry, I’ve read three of his books and loved them all, although A Fine Balance remains a favourite. I’m yet to read Tales from Firozh Bagh.

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, Perhaps you’re right about the first book syndrome. I thought Number9Dream was the weakest of the three, but it was the third book I read.

      I have only read A Fine Balance. I am torn between wanting to read the others and saving them, knowing they will be wonderful. I’ll probably read one of his others soon.

  12. By the way, so jealous on the proof copy. Hope you enjoy it :)

  13. pussreboots says:

    I’ve only read Black Swan Green but I enjoyed it.

    1. Jackie says:

      pussreboots, Black Swan Green is his most conventional novel. The others are a lot more original. I’d love to know your thoughts on them.

  14. Steph says:

    I tried to read Cloud Atlas a few years ago and failed miserably! I just could not get into that first segment – I found the writing overly prosaic and very obtuse. But I wonder if maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset? I generally like authors that experiment with structure in their novels, so I would be open to trying CA again…

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, Sorry to hear that you couldn’t get into Cloud Atlas. Perhaps it is worth you giving one of his other books a try instead? I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

  15. Aarti says:

    Ooh, his new book came up available for review on Shelf Awareness and I was so close to clicking but did NOT because I am trying very hard to be good and not read for review as much any more. But now I’m sad :-( I’ll just keep tabs and watch for your review and wish list, I guess!

    1. Jackie says:

      Aarti, It is a shame that you didn’t click on the link as I’m sure you’ll love this book. At least you don’t have too much longer to wait.

  16. Laura says:

    I loved Black Swan Green and Cloud Atlas, and I’m not even sure I could choose a favorite of those two. They are both excellent and yet very different. I was impressed with the interwoven stories in Cloud Atlas. But for some reason I haven’t gotten around to reading any of Mitchell’s other books. I can’t wait to see what you think of his latest!

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, I’m pleased that you enjoyed those two books. I have a feeling that his new book is going to be very different in style to his others, but think I’ll love it just as much. I hope you try one of his other books soon.

  17. Danielle says:

    I’m not sure I could pick just one favorite, but I do love it when I enjoy an author’s work–all his/her books, which doesn’t happen often really. I’ve yet to read anything by David Mitchell, but I do have Black Swan Green. I’m looking forward to it as I also grew up in that era and am hoping that the contrasts between UK and US society won’t be too great for me to appreciate it completely–still I’m sure a good author can transcend that sort of thing. I might just have to go and dig that book out now!

    1. Jackie says:

      Danielle, I’d love to see a review of Black Swan from someone who didn’t live in the UK. It would be interesting to see which parts were familiar and which different. I look forward to your review.

      1. Wendy says:

        I don’t live in the UK – I reviewed it here :)

  18. Aimee says:

    Cloud Atlas was immesnely crazy. By the end I wasn’t sure whether I had enjoyed the book as a whole, as I much preferred some stories to others. I certainly, however, appreciate his amazing knack for the different styles, and the pattern in which they were done in the book. I haven’t read anything else by him but I’m thinking I should give CA a reread!


    1. Jackie says:

      Aimee, I loved the originality of Cloud Atlas – you never know what is going to happen next! It would be interesting to reread it at some point, perhaps I’ll try that later in the year.

  19. Karen says:

    I have not read any of Mitchell’s books before but you do make them sound very enticing…

    1. Jackie says:

      Karen, I hope you decide to give him a try!

  20. Jenners says:

    I’ve not read any of his books but you sure are making me want to. And how gorgeous and rich-looking is that new book cover! WOW!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, The cover of the proof is beautiful! I do worry about the real thing though – the little images on Amazon look terrible. :-( I hope it is just that gold doesn’t translate well onto screen.

  21. Annabel says:

    David Mitchell is one of those authors that I have been meaning to read for ages – I own all of his books, except the latest, and I keep forgetting about them. Should I start with Cloud Atlas or Black Swan Green?

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, That is a difficult question – they are both very different books.

      Cloud Atlas can be hard to get into and has a complex structure, but I think it’s originality make it the better book. Black Swan has a more normal structure and I’d recommend you start with that if you prefer simpler books. I don’t think it really matters which you start with – they are both wonderful books!

  22. I also love David Mitchell, but my favourite by a country mile is ‘Ghostwritten’. I could barely put it down. I wasn’t so keen on ‘Black Swan Green’. I like his less conventional narratives, and while I think I would have loved it if I hadn’t already read his other books, I felt like he was capable of much better.

    Needless to say, though, I can’t wait to get my mitts on his new one.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kirsty, In the past I have said that I preferred Ghostwritten. I think when I was reading it I enjoyed it more, but Cloud Atlas has made a more lasting impression on me. I still vividly remember certain sections from it whereas I don’t remember that much about Ghostwritten now. They are both wonderful though, so I don’t mind which you prefer – I’m just pleased you enjoy his books.

  23. Satu says:

    I’m just reading my first Mitchell, Ghostwritten. I’ve read four of the nine parts and I’m enjoying it quite a lot – and am also very curious to see where things finally end up!

    1. Jackie says:

      Satu, I hope that you enjoy the last half as much as the first!

  24. Andreea says:

    I have never heard of this author before but now that you have mentioned him, I will have a look at him.

    1. Jackie says:

      Andreea, I’m really pleased that I have bought him to your attention. I hope you decide to read one of his books.

  25. Diane says:

    I own Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green and Ghost Written, but have not read them. Since you are so passionate about this author, I think I’d better get started and see what I’ve been missing; thanks Jackie.

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, I love the fact that you already own so many of his books! I hope that you love them as much as I do.

  26. Jenny says:

    I’ve never read anything by David Mitchell. I nearly bought Cloud Atlas yesterday, but I went away to think about it some more, and by the time I got back, someone else had bought it. Alas.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, Sorry to hear that someone else got to it first. I hope you find another copy soon.

  27. mee says:

    That new book looks awesome! Is that glossy gold? It’s so shinny! I chuckled when you said blogging career! :D

    You know I plan to read Mitchell’s book this year, so I look forward to discovering a potentially great author!

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, The proof is a beautiful, glossy gold. I hope the hardback is as nice.

  28. Simon S says:

    I was not a fan of Cloud Atlas at all I have to say, but I did like his writing so he’s one author that though I didnt love I definitely havent written him off.

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, I think you’d enjoy Black Swan Green – it is structured in a much more normal way and I think you’d like remembering about all the things we used to have as children – I hope you decide to give it a try.

  29. I haven’t read any David Mitchell and I think I need to!

    This post reminds me of my Robertson Davies post – tough to describe writing you unabashedly love. Is Cloud Atlas by far your favourite of his?

    1. Jackie says:

      Lija, It is always hard to explain why you love something. That reminds me – I really should read more R Davies.

  30. Sue says:

    I love everything you love and I’m so bummed to read that you have a favorite author that I’ve never even read. Black Swan Green has been sitting on my nightstand for about 6 months, but other books keep getting put on top of it and it’s still waiting. My kids are on spring break this week… I think I’ll take it along and read it by the pool.
    My favorite author is Rohinton Mistry. I love, llloooovvve him. He’s so good. My second favorite book (second to A Fine Balance) is Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, but I haven’t read anything else he’s written, so I don’t know if I can classify him as a favorite or not.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sue, I haven’t heard of Wallace Stegner before – I’ve added it to the wishlist. Thanks for the recommendation!

  31. Kathleen says:

    I haven’t read any of Mitchell’s works but I am off to add a few to my TBR. I loved A Fine Balance by Mistry. That book would easily be in my top 20. I’m reading Fingersmith by Waters now and am loving it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, Fingersmith is one of my favourite books – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  32. KT says:

    I love infinitely quotable books! Thanks for introducing me to this author — Cloud Atlas is definitely going on my to-read list :)

    1. Jackie says:

      KT, I hope you enjoy reading his books!

  33. Sakura says:

    I love David Mitchell too! Especially Cloud Atlas. I still feel he should have won th Booker.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sakura, I agree with you. The best book rarely seems to win the Booker – let’s hope he gets it this year.

  34. Julie says:

    I feel sadly ignorant that I know nothing about him! I will have to check him out. Thanx for the horizon broadening! :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Julie, I hope you decide to read of of his books and enjoy it!

  35. cool,I’ve heard about David. but i never thought of reading his books.

    but,thanks to u I am thinking on reading one!


    1. Jackie says:

      school yearbook publishers, I’m really pleased that I’m encouraging people to read his books!

  36. Olduvai says:

    Mmm… thanks for the reminder that I ought to read more by Mitchell. I loved Ghostwritten and number9dream but somehow never picked up the rest of his books. I’m curious about Black Swan Green and think I spotted it on the library shelves. Will check it out on my next library trip!

    1. Jackie says:

      Olduvai, I hope that you manage to find Black Swan Green and enjoy it as much as I did.

  37. London Lit Reader says:

    Fans tempted by this post can read extracts from the first two chapters of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet here:

    1. Jackie says:

      London Lit Reader, Thanks for the link!

  38. Cloud Atlas is my all time favourite book. It really left a lasting impression on me and I gave it to several of my friends because I felt they just had to read it too! This may sound strange but because I loved it so much I haven’t read anything by Mitchell since because I’ve been afraid nothing can compare to Cloud Atlas. I was considering try his new one, but might not having just read your review of that.

    1. Jackie says:

      Booklover Book Reviews, I understand exactly what you mean. I have avoided reading books by other authors for exactly the same reason. I have been disappointed so many times, but I guarentee that Ghostwritten wont disappoint if you enjoyed Cloud Atlas!


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