Number9Dream is the international literary sensation from a writer with astonishing range and imaginative energy - an intoxicating ride through Tokyo's dark underworlds and the even more mysterious landscapes of our collective dreams. David Mitchell follows his eerily precocious, globe-striding first novel, Ghostwritten, with a work that is in its way even more ambitious.
In outward form, Number9Dream is a Dickensian coming-of-age journey: Young dreamer Eiji Miyake, from remote rural Japan, thrust out on his own by his sister's death and his mother's breakdown, comes to Tokyo in pursuit of the father who abandoned him. Stumbling around this strange, awesome city, he trips over and crosses - through a hidden destiny or just monstrously bad luck - a number of its secret power centers.
Suddenly, the riddle of his father's identity becomes just one of the increasingly urgent questions Eiji must answer. Why is the line between the world of his experiences and the world of his dreams so blurry? Why do so many horrible things keep happening to him? What is it about the number 9? To answer these questions, and ultimately to come to terms with his inheritance, Eiji must somehow acquire an insight into the workings of history and fate that would be rare in anyone, much less in a boy from out of town with a price on his head and less than the cost of a Beatles disc to his name.
©2001 David Mitchell (P)2012 W.F. Howes
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
Another Mitchell book I'm going to have to chew on for a bit to really bend my mental tongue around. At first, I was a little disappointed in it. This is my last Mitchell book left to read (I am now a Mitchell completist) and I was hoping for just a little more PoMo juice to squeeze out of his second novel. Three dreams into it and I was afraid Mitchell was aping Murakami (Norwegian Wood, A Wild Sheep Chase) and Joyce (Finnegans Wake) a bit too much in his persuit of a dreamy father-quest novel.
By the end, however, Mitchell salvaged the novel. It still seemed a little too packaged, too sterile, too neat and measured. Don't get me wrong, I liked it and obviously (I've now read ALL of Mitchell) I like how Mitchell writes, but I'm not sure #9Dream is even close to being top shelf for me of Mitchell's novels.
It took me longer (than with previous David Mitchell books) to become truly engaged with Number9dream - there were parts I resisted liking. As the story unfolded though, I began to care about Eiji and his fate and it became another book to savour. I may come back to it again in the future - to see what I missed the first time. The reading was excellently performed. Shame he did not also record Black Swan Green....
Number9Dream starts abruptly and takes you on a fast paced trip through many different scenarios. I have found that you need to really stick with the author as his beginnings have at first confused me a bit. The thing is, the more I read, the more I become immersed in the story, the more I love his writing. I don't normally gush about an author, but David Mitchell is by far one of the best modern writers out there. His stories are so complex, layered and full of meaning. Do not pass up the chance to listen! Once you give Mr. Mitchell a chance you will become hooked!
Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.
Absolutely. Why? Because the author is a genius. The prose is ripping and the descriptions evocative and real. I am there.
Only other books by David Mitchell. He s unique. I suppose Murikami comes to mind a bit.
I cannot name but one. There are, quite simply, too many and almost all. I suppose, overall, the way Tokyo is described is poignant. The scene in the 9 of Spades private club was memorable.
The main character. AG. I cannot spell the name as I am half blind and only listen, so not sure of how to spell it.
I only wish this novel had been longer. The ending begs for a sequel.
Even though this isn't his best book, I still enjoyed every minute. The narrator's English accent--for Japanese characters--just seemed to fit. David Mitchell gets the words right: he brings his characters to life, paints the scenes where they live, and makes me feel their pain. I have been spacing out his books so that I had the anticipation of the next experience, but I think I'm going to order the last one I haven't read, Slade House, because I want to stay immersed in his world.
The narrator here captures the full range of this incandescent novel. Readers of Cloud Atlas and Bone Clocks will find much to love in the author's earlier work. But here the reader makes it come to life even with a long work and a complex plot.
Of the four Mitchell novels I've read so far (the others being Ghostwritten, Cloud Atlas, and The Bone Clocks) this one is my least favorite. However, labeling it as such is a bit like saying, "this precious gem shines a bit less brightly than the others". Mitchell's skill as a writer is such that Number9Dream is still absolutely worth a read. This is the first of his novels I've read that follows a single character throughout the course of the story. But, great storyteller that he is, he still manages to work in a variety of separate tales in a typically Mitchell-esque fashion. I think readers who expect a single, coherent, linear storyline will be disappointed, while those of us who enjoy the variety of Cloud Atlas will find the many distractions welcome.
Listening to this story as an audiobook was, at times, confusing due to the non-linear nature of the narrative. It's not something can half-listen to and expect to understand. That being said, if you're willing the pay attention, the narrator is brilliant. I don't regret listening to this book at all.
Realism taking its toll through visions of imaginative expectations, unseen obligations and the remnants of memories that soak the mind in nostalgic lethargy.
Brilliant, twisting, surprising, shocking, poignant, profound, poetic. I have no idea how Mitchell channels this diversity of acutely perceived characters through such intricate, interwoven plotwork.
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