Connections: The Noncorpum
First appearance: Ghostwritten, Mongolia
The Noncorpum, the narrator of Ghostwritten’s Mongolia chapter, is a disembodied spirit that inhabits the minds of its human hosts. The Noncorpum can transfer between hosts by touch, and is motivated by its only memory and possible clue to its existence — a story about three animals who ponder the fate of the world.
The chapter picks up in Mongolia, where the Noncorpum inhabits the mind of Caspar, a Danish backpacker traveling the country by train.
The Noncorpum inhabits the mind of the old lady of the Holy Mountain tea shack in Ghostwritten’s previous chapter. The old lady believes the Noncorpum is Lord Buddha, speaking to her through a magic tree that grows near her tea shack. Although the Noncorpum admits accidentally damaging some of its early human hosts as it learned its own capabilities and nature, it acts as a benevolent force in the old lady’s life, helping her survive communists, revolutionaries, warlords and famine through her days on the Holy Mountain.
The Noncorpum briefly inhabits the mind of Subhataar, an utterly ruthless Mongolian KGB agent and enforcer. Subhataar shows up again in David Mitchell’s next novel, number9dream, as an associate of the Yakuza.