Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Number9Dream by David Mitchell

Number9Dream (2001)

by David Mitchell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,206442,943 (3.87)136
Recently added byGreenSnow, private library, lincolnpan, toissavuonna, Gardevias, lusin9, butros
  1. 10
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (PghDragonMan)
  2. 10
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (spammie1)
  3. 00
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Is it real? Or is it imagined?
  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.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 136 mentions

English (43)  Dutch (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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 |
I recently implied that David Mitchell could do no wrong. Without a doubt, he is a tremendously talented author. Then I began reading number9dream and was immediately worried I'd have to eat my words. number9dream starts unlike any other Mitchell book; sure Mitchell has an eclectic style, but there's a certain feel to his books—the idea that regardless of subject or genre, all the stories are somehow tied together. number9dream didn't feel like a part of the Mitchell universe—it felt more like a poor attempt at Murakami minus the cats.

What's surprising is that my feeling didn't change as I read: number9dream bears more semblance to a Murakami-hack than to anything Mitchell could've written. It's easily my least favorite of Mitchell's works and likely will always remain such (it brings to mind the term 'sophomore slump'). It doesn't tie into Mitchell's other works the way I love—or at least in no way I saw—and that was disappointing. All that being said, it is still David Mitchell. The writing is superb. In fact, relying less on tricks, number9dream relies more on great writing. The sentences and scenes Mitchell turns out are gorgeous. Sure, all of it feels like a horrible acid trip, but it's a riveting and beautiful acid trip.

number9dream lacks the continuity, relevance, and drive that one usually finds in David Mitchell, but hey, it's David Mitchell, and that was enough for me. ( )
  chrisblocker | May 5, 2014 |
A book where “Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé” meets “All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream” meets “Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9…”

The basic premise is straightforward: a twenty-year-old man comes to Tokyo to find his father, who had an affair with his mother and abandoned her. He doesn’t know his father’s name and has little to go on. He’s also still trying to come to terms with his mother, an alcoholic and loose woman who gave him up to be raised by relatives, and his twin sister, who drowned when they were 11 and he was away at a soccer match.

As in the other books I’ve read by Mitchell, the novel has great breadth. I love his humor, word play, ability to write in multiple styles, and to weave stories together. There is philosophy, budding love, action, and sentimentality all in the right dosages. I was unaware of ‘Kaiten’, the manned suicide torpedoes the Japanese used towards the end of WWII, and loved the perspective of the soldiers he offered in one of the chapters. There are daydreams and fantasy as well, and this contributes to the overall dreamy feel of the book. He may go a little overboard with the “9” references and the book is ambitious, but he’s successful, and I enjoyed it all the way through. Loved the ending too.

Last point, and a footnote I suppose, for myself: I detected only a couple of references to his other books: “The cloud atlas turns its pages over” (of course a forward reference), and the government top-secret project in Texas from Ghostwritten hiring a hacker here.

On cruel words:
“I think the most powerful poison is the malicious word. Its effects may last a lifetime and there is no serum. Forgiveness may soothe the inflammation later, sure, but there is no actual serum.”

On dreams:
“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.”

On love, loved the wording, know the feeling:
“How drop-dead cool can a girl be and not burn a hole in this dimension?”

And this one:
“Ai looks at me in a strange way. I see her face as a very old woman, and also as a very little girl. Slow seconds come and go. I have never looked at anyone this long, this close up, in silence, since my who-blinks-last-wins games with Anju. If this were a movie and not McDonald’s we would kiss. I think. Maybe this is more intimate than kissing. Loyalty, grief, good news, bad days.”

On the meaning of life:
“’Well, I was always curious about the meaning of life.’
‘Easy. Eating macadamia ice cream and listening to Debussy.’
‘Be serious.’
‘Well,’ Ai shifts, ‘your question is wrong.’
I imagine her lying here. ‘What should my question be, then?’
‘It should be ‘What is my meaning of life.’”

On men who have affairs:
“Like all weak men, he thought that if he acted confused enough, everyone would forgive him.”

On nightmares:
“In my homeland, it is said nightmares are our wilder ancestors returning to reclaim land. Land tamed and grazed by our softer, fatter, modern, waking selves … Nightmares are messengers, sent by who, or what, we really are, underneath. ‘Don’t forget where you come from,’ the nightmare tells us, ‘Don’t forget your true self.’”

On war:
“’What food? We are under siege, if you hadn’t noticed!’
‘A siege?’
‘They call them ‘sanctions’ these days.’”

On writers:
“’You know, we are all of us writers, busy writing our own fictions about how the world is, and how it came to be this way. We concoct plots and ascribe motives that may, or may not, coincide with the truth.’ I scowl at the envelope, wondering. ‘Take your mother. You write her part for her. Have you ever wondered how she writes her part?’”

Not possible to categorize this one, but loved the description of looking at a couple in a photograph:
“He is about to break into laughter at whatever she has just said. She is reading my reaction to see if I genuinely enjoyed her story, or if I am just being polite. Weird. Her face is familiar. Familiar, and impossible to lie to. ‘True,’ she seems to say to me, ‘but see if you can piece the puzzle together yourself.’ We watch each other for a while, then I go back to her garden where the dragonflies live out their whole lives.” ( )
1 vote gbill | Apr 21, 2014 |
too much like murakami, this one. and i just can't get into that. ( )
  Lacy.Simons | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Mitchellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mijn, Aad van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
'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.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:43 -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.

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
13 avail.
316 wanted
4 pay1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.87)
0.5 1
1 6
2 25
2.5 10
3 111
3.5 47
4 232
4.5 47
5 121

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 95,144,581 books! | Top bar: Always visible