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Number9Dream by David Mitchell

Number9Dream (2001)

by David Mitchell

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2,275472,810 (3.87)141
Recently added bytaru.tappola, Octopoda, benitastrnad, drewsof, Maripacs, private library, LT_Ammar, bespectacledme
  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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English (46)  Dutch (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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 |
I've given this 3.5 stars, because it started off and finished well, but had a massive slump in the middle. I liked the main character a lot, and was immersed in the whole story apart from the interlude in the middle. At times, I felt like I was in the story with Miyake, the writing was so good. It's a straightforward tale of a boy searching for his unknown father, his experiences in Tokyo after a childhood on an island south of Kyushu, including some grim run ins with the Yakuza, and the friends he makes while he tries to discover who he is, and who his father's family are. Nothing gets properly resolved, but Miyake does move on. The ambiguous ending leaves room for hope. Shame about the weird story within a story in the middle that served no other purpose than amusing the author. ( )
  missizicks | Oct 4, 2014 |
I am such a fan of Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten that I had to read the novel he wrote “between.” Sigh! Number 9 Dream just doesn’t measure up to its predecessor nor its successor. Unlike the nested narrative structure of the other two novels, Number 9 Dream unfolds in a fairly linear fashion, albeit with much digression and many parallel fantasies. The core tale is that of a quest (a search for a father only to find a mother) and the coming-of-age of Eiji Miyake, a 20 year old from the sticks who arrives in Tokyo only to fall in love, both fail and succeed in his quest, and along the way become entangled in some nightmarish encounters with the Yakuza (Japanese criminal gangs). At the beginning of the novel, Mitchell segues back and forth between Miyake’s plotting of his meet up with his father and dreamscapes in which he acts out alternate versions of this meet up. I only wish Mitchell had continued in this vein. Instead, for part of the novel, he goes back and forth between Miyake in Tokyo and the tale of Goatwriter (pun on the Ghostwriter from the author’s earlier novel), his housekeeper Mrs. Combs (a hen) and their companion Pithecanthropus (a proto-human). This may be inventive but, in my opinion, it just doesn’t add up. Another large section of the novel involves Miyake’s misadventures while caught in the crosshairs of a gang war among Yakuza crime lords. Mitchell’s inventiveness here veers to the grotesque and brutal, so much so that one has the sense of being trapped in a graphic novel (murder by bowling ball anyone?). Organized crime in Toyko has apparently skipped right past the drug trade to make its profits selling body parts (extracted from very unwilling donors). And so on. Of course, Mitchell is a great writer. My advice: skip this one and go straight to Cloud Atlas. ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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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)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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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