"Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After" -- An Error by David Mitchell?
There's a baffling remark by the 'Hawaiian' character Zachry in a passage from "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After" in David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas. I can't reconcile it with the rest of the story, but perhaps someone can help. Here's the passage, which has Zachry narrating his first visit to the inner sanctum of his tribe's religious center, known as the Icon'ry because it housed the 'icons' that represented each person who had died:
First time I went inside the Icon'ry was with Pa'n'Adam'n'Jonas when I was a sevener. Ma'd got a leakin' malady birthin' Catkin, an' Pa took us to pray to Sonmi to fix her, 'cos the Icon'ry was a spesh holy place an' Sonmi was norm'ly list'nin' there. Watery dark it was inside. Wax'n'teak-oil'n'time was its smell. The icons lived in shelfs from floor to roof, how many there was I cudn't tell, nay, you don't go countin' 'em like goats, but the gone-lifes outnumber the nowlifes like leafs outnumber trees. Pa's voice spoke in the shadows, fam'liar it was but eerie too, askin' Sonmi to halt Ma's dyin' an' let her soul stay in that body for longer, an' in my head I prayed the same, tho' I knowed I been marked by Old Georgie at Sloosha's Crossin'. An' then we heard a sort o' roaring underneath the silence, made o' mil'yuns o' whisp'rin's like the ocean, only it wasn't the ocean, nay, it was the icons, an' we knew Sonmi was in there list'nin' to us. Ma din't die. (Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, page 245)The puzzling point, so far as I can make out, is that the speaker, Zachry, was "marked by Old Georgie at Sloosha's Crossin'" when he was a niner (nine years old), as we discover early in the story (page 240), but this passage takes place when Zachry "was a sevener" (seven years old).
Have I missed something? Can anyone who's read the story harmonize these details for me?
Or is this an error by the author, David Mitchell?