Thinking about it only makes it worse is a collection of posts that Mitchell has written for the guardian over the years. Dealing with everything from contemporary politics to weird hangups on grammar David Mitchell does what David Mitchell does best: is slightly grumpy about things.
“Brainchild” is an odd word. You hear it a lot in explanatory voiceovers and I suppose I was trying to join in, but I don’t really like it. I’m not keen on the idea that my brain could have a child. Would it be made of brain – a child, made of grey brain, like a squelchy zombie? As metaphors for inspiration go, I prefer the lightbulb.”
Most of the essays are somewhat dated and though Mitchell tries to contextualize them with updated commentary it doesn’t always quite work. Furthermore a solid knowledge of English history and contemporary politics are especially required to enjoy the political stuff, though reading about silly school politics in the current brexit climate does make everything feel quite trivial.
“With a story, as with a well-chosen gift, we’re happiest when surprised by something we didn’t know we wanted.”
In the end there are some solid written articles, but they lack the honesty and depth that made Backstory so compelling. I read this over the span of a year, dipping in and out of it. There are some gems there, but I recommend, if you are a fan of David Mitchell’s writing to read some of his newer articles instead.
“What women want is still what it’s always been: either you or, more likely, not you.”