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A Temporary Future

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction: Many Worlds, Real Time Chapter One: A Company of Strangers: ghostwritten Chapter Two: Metropolitan Traumas: number9dream Chapter Three: The Reach of History: Cloud Atlas Chapter Four: Timepiece: blackswangreen Chapter Five: Minor Histories: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet Chapter Six: The Bone Clocks Epilogue: Toward a Fiction of the Future Index

Promotional Information

The first major exploration of the fiction of David Mitchell, from ghostwritten to The Bone Clocks.

About the Author

Patrick O'Donnell is Professor of English at Michigan State University, USA. He is the author or editor of 12 books, including The American Novel Now: Contemporary American Fiction Since 1980 (2010), Latent Destinies: Cultural Paranoia and Contemporary U.S. Narrative (2000) and The Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Fiction (co-edited with David W. Madden & Justus Nieland, 2011).


A Temporary Future provides a thought-provoking assessment of the novels-certainly much more than simply the "introduction" that O'Donnell claims it is-and, like any good work of criticism, it makes us eager to return to the novels themselves and read them in light of our new understanding. * English Studies * O'Donnell is the first to explore the complete works to date of British novelist David Mitchell ... [He] makes a careful and clear argument for Mitchell's project as well as his place in literature ... It will appeal most to literature students, academics, and literary critics. * Library Journal * Like Mitchell's novels, this study is itself 'a capacious assemblage,' drawing on O'Donnell's impeccable grasp of multiple literary traditions, of diverse critical frameworks, and his sensitive readings of Mitchell's characters' 'spontaneously associative mental threads.' These elements come together to make this a pioneering study by an accomplished critic, which offers not only comprehensive readings of Mitchell's work but also extends and expands our understanding of what a cosmopolitan style might achieve, and how the hybrid novel might evolve in our temporary future. * Stephen J. Burn, Reader in American Literature, University of Glasgow, UK * Patrick O'Donnell has produced an authoritative account of the novels of David Mitchell in A Temporary Future. Uncovering the poetic interplay of mutable time signatures in Mitchell's work, O'Donnell presents the reader with an elegant set of interconnected readings of his oeuvre to date. Mitchell has emerged as one of the most important British writers in recent years, and this book will serve as an invaluable critical introduction to his fiction. O'Donnell has captured the fluidity and breathless energy of his novels - throughout this study, Mitchell's preoccupation with pulsing, intersecting times, realities and worlds shines through. This is a richly suggestive account, and a book that anyone with an interest in contemporary fiction and literary representations of temporality will want to read. * Caroline Edwards, Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, University of London, UK * This is indispensable reading for those who want to orient themselves not only to Mitchell's individual works but also to the connections across those works. O'Donnell is attuned to the book-ness of Mitchell's writing: its way of reflecting on the formats and media of contemporary fiction, right down to the typeface or visual experience of the page. In Mitchell's fiction of the future, O'Donnell heralds the future of contemporary fiction. * Rebecca L. Walkowitz, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Rutgers University, USA *

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