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Number9Dream by David Mitchell

Number9Dream (2001)

by David Mitchell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,301502,759 (3.87)147
Recently added byprivate library, BooksOn23rd, eastlake_uk, rochelle12, pvincent, avere, crosbyp, DukeViaIowa
  1. 10
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Is it real? Or is it imagined?
  2. 10
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  3. 10
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (spammie1)
  4. 00
    After Dark by Haruki Murakami (isigfethera)
    isigfethera: Both are slightly surreal coming-of-age-ish stories set in Tokyo, with a similar style.

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» See also 147 mentions

English (48)  Dutch (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
A kaleidoscopic whirl through the absurdities of modern society with a Japanese twist. The contrast between the impersonal socioeconomic machine and the personal search for meaning of the players makes this a great novel. 7 November 2015. ( )
  alanca | Nov 7, 2015 |
Another chiaroscuro novel from Mitchell. Instead of multiple viewpoints and multiple narratives we have what might be multiple dreams or fantasies, visions of modern Japan through the mind and experiences of a boy searching for his father, haunted by his sister and bothered by his mother. Eiji Miyake is established early on as a slightly unreliable narrator, with a preference for elaborate flights of fancy over concrete actions. Nonetheless, he returns to shabby, knotty, tricky reality at the end of each initial flight, so when the story progresses through some strange and horrible adventures and misadventures, all propelled by his search for his father, the reader is left with a nagging suspicion about the nature of Eiji's reality. Then it no longer seems to matter, as at worst we are reading a made-up story by a made-up character in a made-up book. number9dream charms and horrifies and breaks the heart and heals it a little as one dream proceeds from the next. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
This was my first of Mitchell's book and was somewhat disappointed. Now don't get me wrong, he is a very talented writer- the characters were well formed and complex, the prose is witty and original. What I didn't like about this book was the flitting between odd subplots which seemed irrelevant to the plot. ( )
  martensgirl | May 18, 2015 |
I want to like this book more, but it just tries too hard to do too many things at once. Underlying the frantic plotting is the story of Eiji Miyake’s quest to find his father and its tentative transformation into the remaking of his relationship with his mother. The novel is also a portrait of modern Japan viewed through multiple cultural filters. This aspect now comes across a bit buzzword bingo (geishas, Haruki Murakami, Studio Ghibli, pachinko…), but there is a generous hat tip to a range of Japanese authors in the Goatwriter section. Then there’s the relentless experimenting with forms of storytelling, including but not limited to yakuza thriller, cyberpunk futurism and anthropomorphic animal fable. Add in an ongoing insistence that this is both just a dream (daydream, nightmare) and just fiction (coincidence! fairytale outcome!) and you end up with a too clumsy to be successful early version of Cloud Atlas. Which just goes to show the delights possible when David Mitchell does gain elegant control of his material. ( )
  Bernadette877 | Feb 21, 2015 |
David Mitchell knows how to write. It was a wonderful, refreshing move, giving up on Mieville's overwrought, adjective-heavy language and finding Mitchell's crisp lines.
The comparisons to Murakami are not without basis. The writing is similar, similarly direct. But Mitchell's voice is almost manic in the frequency with which it changes. We have strange daydreams, actual dreams (equally strange, or more), letters, diary, short fantasy stories. Each chapter offers a different mode in and out of which we find ourselves moving.
There's not a lot of resolution, but this drives home the novel's main conceit: meaning through search, through doing, meaning as an incompletable series whose progress serves as its own justification. ( )
  ternary | Feb 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Mitchellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mijn, Aad van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'It is so much simpler to bury reality than it is to dispose of dreams.'
- Don Delillo, Americana
For Keiko
First words
It is a simple matter. I know your name, and you know mine, once upon a time: Eiji Miyake.
Dreams are the shores where the ocean of spirit meets the land of matter. Dreams are beaches where the yet-to-be, the once-were, the will-never-be may walk awhile with the still-are.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812966929, Paperback)

David Mitchell's second novel, Number9Dream, tells the story of Eiji Miyake, a young man negotiating a hypermodern and dangerous Tokyo to meet for the first time his secretive and powerful father. Naïve and fresh from the Japanese countryside, Eiji encounters every obstacle imaginable in his quest, from his father's--and in-laws'--reluctance for the encounter to occur (Eiji is the bastard son) to fiery entanglements with yakuza (the Japanese mafia) to the overwhelming size and anonymity of Tokyo itself.

The novel is cartoonish in that Eiji has a vivid and violent imagination that fills the book with daydreams. When not chain-smoking, forlorn Eiji wanders the city following vague or cryptic leads that invariably dead-end or land him back among yakuza. Mitchell (author of the critically acclaimed Ghostwritten) has a smart, eclectic writing style that seems foreign, and the novel is well paced, but the yakuza encounters are too cinematic, complete with unusual torture and pyrotechnics. Moreover, in addition to Eiji's daydreams, the last half of the book contains excerpts from the diaries of his great uncle's World War II naval heroics and bizarre short stories that Eiji reads while hiding--the latter of which make for tedious reading.

Number9Dream is crafted from too many disparate components; it does not seem to be a full expression, but an overly crowded one. Readers will sympathize with Eiji and his search, but in the end will wonder what effect, if any, all the extraneous forces had on him. The book provides many fun moments, but ultimately it doesn't really add up to the sum of its parts. --Michael Ferch

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:18 -0400)

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A Booker Prize finalist, this is the story of a young innocent's exhilarating misadventures in Tokyo while searching for the father he never knew.

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