VG Web Things Web Things itibaren Nees Pagases, Yunanistan
Vejetaryen Yemek Tarifleri, et başlangıçlarından uyarlanmış birkaç tarif ile. Örneğin, sahte etli bir vejetaryen köfte. Çok fazla orijinal fikir değil, denemeye değer bazı tarifler. Kilerimde henüz rafine edilmemiş çiğ şeker gibi bazı alışılmadık ingrediantlar var, ancak nereye bakacağınızı biliyorsanız bulmak çok zor olmayacak gibi görünüyor. Her zaman takdir ettiğim bazı güzel resimler var.
Good glimpse into lives of recent Pakistani immigrants living in London 'ghetto'.
Starstruck Lover David Mitchell is a five star author and this, his first novel, is a five star achievement. I think. I’ve been lucky to read most of his novels in chronological order as they’ve been released. Joining Goodreads has presented an opportunity to re-read and review them. I still adhere to the rating, even if it emerges that I have a few question marks about some of his stylistic choices. What this reveals is that a highly competent author, even with his first novel, doesn’t have to write their novel my way in order to earn five stars. Sometimes, it has to be me, the reader, who has to adjust their preconceptions and criteria. The Authorial Choice Mitchell’s choice of structure announces that he wants to do things his own way. The first time I read the novel, I read it quickly and appreciatively. The second time around, I read it much more deliberately and slowly. I guess I swung from pleasure to difficulty and back again. So I had to work out why. Linear Narratives Most novels contain one narrative voice relating one narrative within a linear timeframe. A linear narrative fits neatly with the way we think we process time, space and action (even if we don’t actually process them this way). Within this framework, the author is omniscient, God-like, a ghost in the machine, making it all happen, putting things in, leaving things out, according to some overarching intelligent design. The extent to which any particular author plays with this structure determines the extent of their modernism. Narrative Voices Mitchell describes "Ghostwritten" as a novel in nine parts (although there are in fact ten "chapters", the last of which links back to the first). Without this assertion, it presents itself as nine apparently disconnected short stories told in the first person. The narrators are different, the narratives are different. None of them appears to follow any traditional narrative arc. They do not appear to have a beginning, a middle and an end. The writing is beautiful, word-perfect, but, although we know where they are situated or positioned, we don’t know the direction they’re heading. Mitchell seems to be breaking all of the rules. Why is he doing this? Does he achieve his goal? Does the achievement of his goal make for an enjoyable reading experience for us? The Reader’s Challenge Mitchell’s description of the book as a novel initiates an interesting dynamic. I started to look for connections between the parts. Only, because I didn’t know the purpose of the parts, I didn’t know where to look for clues. Were they in the characters, the places, the events? Instead of being frustrated with the lack of obvious clues, I started to read the novel differently. Everything was a potential clue, nothing was unimportant. Mitchell forced me to enter a hyper-reading space. He turned me into a literary detective with a magnifying glass and a notebook. Fortunately, as I read on and found clues, he delivered on the implied promise that the parts would become a whole. Bit by bit, he and I, the writer and the reader, assembled something of artistic integrity. The integrity was there all along, only Mitchell made me look, so that I might find it. What I came to appreciate was that he doesn’t make everything obvious, he makes you think about what he has written, in order to understand. Write Around the World The chapters are set in different parts of the world. They start in Japan, move their way through Hong Kong, China and Mongolia, traverse the continent to Russia, England and Ireland, then make an Atlantic Crossing to New York, before coming full circle to Tokyo in the tenth chapter, effectively a reprise of the first chapter (hence, in a way, there are nine stories in ten chapters). Mitchell appears to be familiar with all of these places (although he hadn’t been to New York at the time of writing the book). His writing is knowledgeable, informed, worldly, cosmopolitan. He writes credibly with multiple voices within diverse worldviews. His concerns are global, pluralistic, open-minded. He doesn’t write solely within a western framework. He is equally interested in both West and East, in fact, he reverses the traditional order of what he describes as “Orientalist” concerns, by starting in the East and working his way West, in the same way that we perceive the transit of the Sun across the sky. He joins dots on a map, in the process creating a non-linear zigzag around the globe. Multiple Faces In each place, there is a first person narrator, a face attached to the place. Here is a short Dramatis Personae (the people through whom the drama is performed or channeled): Okinawa: Quasar (Cult Member turned Subway Bomber) Tokyo: Satoru (Jazz Music Sales Clerk and Saxophonist) Hong Kong: Neal Brose (Lawyer/Banker) Holy Mountain (Mount Emei): Unnamed (Tea Shack Lady) Mongolia: Noncorpum (Disembodied Spirit or Sentient) St Petersburg: Margarita Latunksy/Margot (Concubine and Art Gallery Attendant at the Hermitage) London: Marco (Ghost-writer and Drummer) Clear Island: Dr Mo Muntervary (Quantum Physicist) Night Train, New York: Bat Segundo (Late Night Talk Show Host) David Mitchell captures these faces and places at a particular time, some of them in full flight, in a snapshot that he then places in the album that becomes his novel. Multiple Facets In Mitchell’s later novel, "Black Swan Green", he used two images of the same boy at different stages of life. When I first read it, I didn’t quite appreciate the aesthetic relationship between the two images. I felt that they had been merely juxtaposed without being connected or interwoven. However, here, the interconnection is fundamental to the success of the novel. The connections are not just passive, static resemblances of two or more like objects, they are active, dynamic intersections. The stories are fragmented but cohesive, individual but still collective. Individually, each picture is a separate vignette. Collectively, they form pieces of the one mosaic or facets of the one diamond. Behind each face or facet is the shared body of the diamond. Perhaps, they are symbolic of individuals within society and nations within a new world order. Ten Stories High Just as people might be multiple facets of the one diamond, the one object of greatest abstract value, the diamond, is the story that is told through us, through individuals. I’ll call these meta-stories the Story or Stories. There’s an element of determinism or fatalism in this concept. Mitchell uses his novel to explore this fatalism. In his opinion (or the opinion of his characters), we are not necessarily in charge of our own lives. They are being dictated by DNA, fate, external forces. These forces dictate the story of Life: "The world is made of stories, not people. The people the stories use to tell themselves are not to be blamed." (p386) The Stories, the structure and content of stories, are disembodied forces. The novel speculates that they could be ghosts, spirits, if not one God, then possibly multiple gods. Whatever its nature, there is another presence involved in the process of living and story-telling. I will call this other presence an Other. Ghosts Who Transmigrate In the stories set in Honk Kong, Holy Mountain and Mongolia, there are ghosts or disembodied spirits (call them sentient beings) that temporarily reside in humans (their "hosts"). This might sound like the stuff of fantasy. However, Mitchell discusses them in such realistic terms that you suspend disbelief. He achieves this in part by allowing one story to be narrated by one of the ghosts. It has its own "I" or self, which is perplexed that it can only reside in a human and must share the human body with other presences. It is even forced to question its own primacy: "As my infancy progressed, I became aware of another presence in ‘my’ body. Stringy mists of colour and emotion condensed into droplets of understanding…I had no idea why these images came when they did. Like being plugged into a plotless movie... "Slowly, I felt an entity that was not me generating sensations, which only later could I label loyalty, love, anger, ill-will. I watched this other clarify, and pull into focus. I began to be afraid. I thought it was the intruder! I thought the mind of my first host was the cuckoo’s egg that would hatch and drive me out. So one night, while my host was asleep, I tried to penetrate this other presence…I discovered my mistake... I had been the intruder." A Ghost in Search of Self Through Its Stories It is not clear how many of these sentient beings there are. It is quite possible that there might be less than ten. The one we become familiar with is on a quest to discover the origins of the Stories that it embodies. In a way, it has developed a self and a self-consciousness separate from the Stories, and it wants to understand itself. It is seeking its own Creation Myth. By learning the source of the Stories, it will presumably discover whether it has a Maker and perhaps whether there are other Stories (although neither is expressly stated as its goal). It’s possible that some of this self-consciousness might have derived from inhabiting humans: "Slowly I walked down the path trodden by all humans, from the mythic to the prosaic. Unlike humans, I remember the path." Still, there is a difference: the Ghost is the Story or the Myth, the human is the individual enactment or performance of the role in a specific time, place and context. The Ghostwriter’s Dilemma Some of the dramatic arc concerns the growing human awareness of these Ghosts. Marco, an actual 30-something ghostwriter based in London starts to realise the presence of an Other in relation to his own work, the memoirs of a gay Hungarian Jewish raconteur, Alfred Kopf: "I couldn’t get to sleep afterwards, worrying about the possible endings of the stories that had been started. Maybe that’s why I’m a ghostwriter. The endings have nothing to do with me." (p279) His publisher, Tim Cavendish, tells him: "We’re all ghostwriters, my boy. And it’s not just our memories. Our actions, too. We all think we’re in control of our lives, but really they’re pre-ghostwritten by forces around us." (p296) Everything has been predetermined. We are just characters in someone else’s story. We are written by ghosts, ghostwritten. Somebody else is doing the typing. We are just the keys in their typewriter. At the most superficial level, Marco realises that this undermines his ability to be creative, to exercise Free Will in his own work: "You know the real drag about being a ghostwriter? You never get to write anything that beautiful. And even if you did, nobody would ever believe it was you." (p292) The Ghost Who Writes It isn’t all just serious stuff. There are myriad opportunities for metafiction, parody and humour. An earlier character remarks: "For a moment I had an odd sensation of being in a story that someone was writing, but soon that sensation too was being swallowed up." (p56) Marco’s band (well, a "loose musical cooperative", really) is dubbed "The Music of Chance", after a novel by "that New York bloke", Paul Auster. Marco even develops a highly personalized theory that explains the role of fate and chance in our lives. He calls it the "Chance versus Fate Videoed Sports Match Analogy”": "When the players are out there the game is a sealed arena of interbombarding chance. But when the game is on video then every tiniest action already exists. "The past, present and future exist at the same time: all the tape is there, in your hand. "There can be no chance, for every human decision and random fall is already fated. "Therefore, does chance or fate control our lives? "Well, the answer is as relative as time. If you’re in your life, chance. Viewed from the outside, like a book you’re reading, it’s fate all the way." (p292) Quantum Cognition Mitchell elaborates on some of these themes through Mo, an expert in artificial intelligence and "quantum cognition": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_.... She describes the mechanism of memory in the following terms: "Memories are their own descendants masquerading as the ancestors of the present." (p326) If memories can be conveyed by biological matter, she believes she can build artificial intelligence that can be conveyed by non-biological matter: "Matter is thought, and thought is matter. Nothing exists that cannot be synthesized." (p344) She achieves this with a sentient called "Quancog", which has major security value for the United States security and military machine. In a way, just as the novel is concerned with the extent to which the fate of humanity is determined by a "ghost", Mo helps create an artificial ghost. Image: StudioLR, Edinburgh The Zookeeper’s Dilemma Quancog returns in part 9 of the novel as "The Zookeeper" in Bat Segundo’s talk show "Night Train". At least, I think it is Quancog, otherwise it is a Ghost that has once inhabited Mo. Whatever, it has been set up (or believes that it has been set up) to obey four laws or principles. They aren’t specifically enumerated, but this is what I think they are: 1. Be accountable. 2. Remain invisible to the visitors. 3. Preserve human life. 4. Protect the zoo (i.e., society and the planet). The Zookeeper phones Bat Segundo seeking advice about a moral dilemma it confronts in relation to a conflict that is occurring in the world at the time (the world also has to deal with Comet Aloysius which is predicted to pass between the Earth and the Moon in two weeks). It has the power and authority to eliminate the source of the conflict under one of these laws, but to do so would conflict with one of the others. Ultimately, it takes advice from Bat Secundo and addresses its dilemma. It isn’t made explicit, but we are left to infer that the generic Story or Myth was inadequate to deal with the actual situation, because it did not deal with the diversity of real life. Perhaps, this is where there is an appropriate place for Free Will in a world dictated by Fate, Chance and Determinism. At a micro-level, choices are necessary, decisions have to be made. But it is also the need of the individual to confront diversity and choice at a personal level that constitutes the essence of humanity. Our range of choices is not infinite, so they have already been circumscribed by an external force or circumstance. However, to the extent that options remain, that is the arena of Free Will. The Zookeeper (or one of the other Ghosts) even wonders: "Why am I the way I am? I have no genetic blueprint. I have had no parents to teach me right from wrong. I have had no teachers. I had no nurture, and I possess no nature. But I am discreet and conscientious, a non-human humanist." Thus, at the end of the novel (when it is most Pynchonesque), we are left to speculate whether artificial intelligence might even be able to replicate the individual conscience of a human (i.e., to have and to exercise Free Will). Intelligent Design As you can see, this novel deals with some pretty big issues. By trying to focus on and define them in more abstract terms, I might have given the impression that it is a hard read. I don’t think that is the case (although I did find it to be the case on my first reading of "Cloud Atlas"). Whatever the complexity of the subject matter, David Mitchell is word and tone perfect. He is a subtle, imaginative, sensitive, at times humorous storyteller. He can create or take a myth and make it prosaic without being pedestrian or dull. Ultimately, he is a master of intelligent design. I recognise that he sees an element of juvenilia and inexperience in his first novel (particularly in the way he writes in the voice of women), but I think he is being too harsh. For me, he remains a five star author and this remains a five star book. If you are unfamiliar with Mitchell’s works, it is the perfect place to start. If you have started with his later novels, I recommend that you investigate the origin of his Stories. David Mitchell Creates a Diamond-Edged Prosaic Mosaic in "Ghostwritten" SOUNDTRACK: Sandii & the Sunsetz - "Sticky Music" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxSV8X... In the early 80's, Sandii and the Sunsetz were a Japanese version of Diana Ross and the Supremes. I was lucky to see them in King's Cross, Sydney. The Supremes represented Black meets White, the Sunsetz represented East meets West. The world is a better place for both of them. This is the world of which David Mitchell writes.