This Thing Called the World: The Contemporary Novel as Global Form
Spectral Worlds, Networked Novel
In a close reading of David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten that uses Benedict Anderson’s formal categories, this chapter examines what happens to the novel form when the novelistic imagination goes global and acquires a networked orientation, when it is no longer analogous to imagining a nation. In a series of random but fateful encounters between eight key protagonists and two spectral entities, Mitchell creates an apocalyptic phantasmagoria of our end-of-the-millennium world. The three coordinates proposed by Anderson—a homogeneous space-time configuration, a shared point of view, and an assumed community of readers—are fractured and radically reconstellated in Ghostwritten.