Read number9dream by David Mitchell Online

number9dream

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 whDavid 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....

Title : number9dream
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780340739761
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 418 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

number9dream Reviews

  • s.p
    2019-02-19 09:07

    'Maybe the meaning of life lies in looking for it.'Like thesong by John Lennon which inspired the title of this novel, David Mitchell plays with the fusion of dreams and reality as he sends the reader spiraling through the chimerical passages of Number9dream. This second novel is a departure from the multi-storied structure of Ghostwritten, instead closely following one character. However, it is anything but a simple linear plot and Mitchell shows once again that he can dazzle and dance through numerous facets of writing. Moving through a complicated coming-of-age tale that starts small with a quest for ones estranged father under control situations and further expands into a search for the meanings and acceptance of life while caught up in events beyond oneself, Mitchell questions reality and the nature of dreams all set to the soundtrack of the late, great John Lennon.From the very first page, it becomes obvious that Mitchell has grown as a writer in leaps and bounds from his previous novel, which was stunning in its own right. 'A galaxy of cream unribbons in my coffee cup, and the background chatter pulls into focus’ is one of the first of many ethereal descriptions employed to create the dreamy tone of Number9dream. Metaphors are used in abundance to create a fanciful nature that occasionally makes the reader wonder if it is even a metaphor at all or just a waking dream. 'How do you smuggle daydreams into reality?’ he questions, and this novel is the answer. Tokyo is described as ’rising from the floor of night’, and old cook is said to 'reanimate his corpse and sit up’, streets ‘fill up with evening’, and many other dreamlike, or nightmarish, images swirl from the page. There is always a question of the validity to what occurs within Mitchell’s novels (Ghostwritten has many characters wonder if what just transpired really happened, Frobisher questions the validity of the sea journal in Cloud Atlas, etc.) and this book takes that challenge head on. But is it the truth that really matters? ‘We are all of us writers,’ he writes, speaking through the character of Goatwriter in part 5, ‘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’. This is a novel about the imagination and how we attribute meaning, so truth be damned as we follow Eiji down the rabbit hole. John Lennon was reportedly obsessed with the number 9 (a very interesting article about that can be read here), which may have taken its root from being born on Oct. 9th, and continued to present itself all through his career with songs like Revolution #9, #9 Dream, and strange coincidences such as meeting Yoko Ono on Nov. 9th and that the two of them have nine letter O’s shared between their names. Mitchell’s protagonist, Eiji, is a massive Lennon fan and seems to also be haunted by the number 9. Like Lennon’s birthplace of Liverpool, Eiji’s Kagoshima has nine letters in the name. Eiji was born on September 9th, and nine years have passed since the tragic episode with his sister. This novel is oversaturated with this mysterious 9, it appears in some form constantly. By the end of the novel, readers may find themselves also obsessed with this number, counting letters in names such as Eiji’s grandfather to find that there are nine letters in Tsukiyama and noticing that Eiji shows up an hour early for his 10a.m. meeting, or adding up the numbers on clock times that show up constantly revealing yet another instance of the number 9 (12:51, 13:32, 2:34, 13:23, etc.). Room numbers are 333 on the 9th floor, everything comes in nines such as the number of vehicles to arrive at the yakuza showdown, bars open at 9am, he shuffles a deck of cards ‘nine times for luck’ and thinks of Ai ‘ninety times per minute’. The book is even separated into 9 chapters, the last of which is blank because 'the meaning of the ninth dream begins after all meanings appear to be dead and gone’. There are seemingly countless other examples. This book is the greatest Easter egg hunt imaginable. Beyond the number 9, Mitchell has some fun incorporating Beatles lyrics into the novel, such as describing Ai as a girl with ’ kaleidoscope eyes’ or in a hilarious scene where Eiji gets stoned and the POV switched briefly into 3rd-person, Eiji opens his mouth to speak ‘but his words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup…’. Pure genius.While this novel does not have as dramatic of breaks in form as some of his others, each chapter has a structure unique from all the rest, each with its own purpose. There is the high action fantasies of the first chapter, the reflections of the past in the second, and even an entire collection of stories and letters read later on in the novel, both with a highly original voice from the rest. Mitchell is always eager to show his versatility, and fans of this will not be disappointed. The fifth chapter, Study of Tales, is particularly interesting as it gives Mitchell an opportunity to interject his opinions on the novel itself into the plot. Goatwriter (perhaps a nod to the idea of ghostwriters presented in Ghostwriten?), is a stuttering goat (David Mitchell has a stammer) whose stories often fail since his words literally get stuck in his throat when he eats the pages. He shows how many authors must eat their words, or even be chased down by the word hounds who force them to be always on the run from their past works. The plight of the novelist is cleverly on display. This section is especially poignant today with the rise of electronic readers when the computer witch tells Goatwriter ‘Paper is dead, haven’t you heard? You shall compose your untold tales in a virtual heaven’. The witch argues that ‘writing is not about ‘fulfillment.’ Writing is about adoration! Glamour! Awards!’. Here is where the true message of this books high-octane scenes comes to light. Mitchell argues against writing purely for glamour and this novel is a slap in the face to all those who write purely for a widespread audience enjoyment by becoming one of them. As in Cloud Atlas, Mitchell employs a ’literary pulp’ style of writing to bridge the gap between literature and pulp novels by injecting pure literary depth and meaning into the pulp plots and violent scenes (the yakuza bowling scene will haunt me forever) to infect the minds of those who read pulp and show them that they can look deeper into a novel. ‘I searched for the truly untold tale in sealed caves and lost books of learning’ he says, ’could it be that, instead, profundity is concealed in the obvious? Does the truest originality hide itself within the d-dullest cliché?’. Mitchell could write long dry novels full of depth, but it would seem that his mission is to rescue readers from their sugar-pop novels, so he writes books full of action clichés and compelling violent plots to pull them from the depths and into the wonderful world of literature. Goatwriter’s dive into the lake and his death show Mitchell shedding the worldly fears of writing, giving the finger to critics and the concept of fame, and becoming the abstraction of words and works. Mitchell lives up to this and has become one of the finest modern author. Later in the novel, Mitchell continues to poke fun at simple-minded action plots when he has Buntaro give his theory that ‘a title ending in -ator is guaranteed to be drivel….and the quality of any movie is inverse proportion to the number of helicopters it features.’The metafiction doesn’t stop with Goatwriter. Mitchell has a knack for incorporating others works into his own to highlight his themes. There is a constant comparison of him to the equally excellent Haruki Murakami, both for their metaphysical and surreal styles and for their ‘literary pulp’ novels. David Mitchell is on equal footing with this highly regarded master of modern Japanese literature, and his novels should be more than enough to quench the thirst of any Murakami fan, this novel in particular. Mitchell has Eiji read Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which serves for more than just a nod to his contemporary. The novels share many features, such as a simple quest becoming much more broad in scope and threatening, the surrealistic quality, and both novels have two women that seem to be able to enter and feed off of dreams. Another novel read by Eiji is Le Grand Meaulnes (this book plays a small role in Black Swan Green as well), which is also a coming-of-age of sorts that employs fantastical elements. The term coming-of-age tale does not quite fit this novel properly. Perhaps coming-to-an-adult-understanding-and-acceptance would be more appropriate, but rather cumbersome and wordy. This novel’s humble beginnings are a quest for Eiji’s father, who he has never met, and this seems to him to be the whole reason for his day-to-day life. Through the course of the novel, Eiji encounters a wide variety of people, all with goals that drive their meaning. Some are looking for their son, which presents a sort of irony, and there is some looking to get the right job, or right school, to die in glory for their country, or to bring a child into this world. However, as Eiji learns, eventually there must be some end to every quest, yet life continues after. ‘When you win, the rules change, and you find you’ve lost’ he is told. To move forward in looking for your meaning, we often have to look backwards as well. ’Endings are simple, but every beginning is made by the beginning before.’. Through the novel, Eiji often brings up a tragic event involving his sister nine years before the novels present. While he discusses it from time to time, he always beats around the bush so to speak and it isn’t until the very end that he confronts it head on. He mentions how guitar had been a method of helping him get past the pain, but his life had just been a Band-Aid to cover up, not actual healing. This is his true coming-of-age, when he finally learns to accept and move forward. It is interesting how Mitchell uses landscapes to exemplify this. First, there is much emphasis of people being a part of their environment, ‘I am not made by me, or my parents, but my the Japan that did come into being’,, or 'Tokyo builds people’. Also, it seems that your present location is important to who you are as he is told 'knowing where you are is a requisite of self-knowledge'. Most of the novel takes place in Tokyo, which is described in beautiful ethereal depictions, often moving up and out towards the sky and clouds. This is his escape, and his escape has now built him much like how Lennon tells Eiji that ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ wrote him. When he returns home, the descriptions become more grounded and earthy, discussing the colors of nature, the grains of grass, and the dirt. The prose becomes overwhelmingly lush and the smells and sounds of being out in the country effluviate from his words. He is now down to earth, removed from the dream and is able to easily distinguish what is real and what are his dreams, which are easily separated for the reader. He has returned to the land, the Japan where 'all the myths slithered, galloped and swam from.’ Once he has come to grips with his reality and past, his dreamlike Tokyo is literally shaken up and ripped apart, the dream shattered. This novel is incredible. It is a thrill ride through the life of the mind, through bloody Yakuza fights, hilarious first sexual encounters (he calls his erection ‘Godzilla’!), childhood memories and first loves. All the while, Mitchell pumps the pulp fiction with layers upon layers of meaning and then questions the idea of meaning and reality itself. ‘The world is an ordered flowchart of subplots after all’ he says, and this novel will make you question your own reality, much like how Eiji often wonders if he is still some child weeping in the woods and his whole life is a dream. You will also find yourself haunted by the number 9 forever after (is it only a coincidence this review is 9 paragraphs longs….?). Find this book and read it, and examine your meaning. Because maybe 'the meaning of life lies in looking for it’.9/9 böwakawa poussé, poussé 'The body is the outermost layer of the mind.'

  • Bradley
    2019-02-19 10:13

    I want to say, "It was me, it wasn't you," to this novel. She and I just didn't click. She's obviously got a lot going for her besides her perfect neck, including a horribly pretentious style and a vividly dramatic penchant for detail, but while I had a very good time with some of his other novels all lined up in a row like some Voltron Robot of literature, this one just seemed to go on and on with rambling and disjointed plot-lines that EVENTUALLY, like, at the END wrapped up into the Matrix-Style "This Is Only A Dream" Science Fantasy extravaganza with immortal witches and people Outside Of Time that so punctuated his other novels.Don't get me wrong. I really wanted to like her. The novel feels just as epic as a wandering and hopeless kid with a very, very late destiny can aspire to. Maybe I've just run out of patience after getting through so many of David Mitchell's novels. The glorious bits are glorious, the normal bits are strongly detailed and interesting in their way, and the density of ideas is sometimes an awesome pleasure to behold.But the overall structure of these monstrosities? I Just Don't Know. I feel like I'm trying to suck a fifth of Whisky from a bottle left unbroken. I want to love the insanity and I want to love sheer chutzpah. It's always a heavy mix of traditional literature, fascinating locations, interesting peoples, and OUT-THERE SF to tie it all together like a nightmare or a dream.Indeed. A dream. *sigh*I'm sorry, number9dream. It was me, not you.

  • Ian
    2019-02-21 05:23

    How Will I Know?Whitney Houston sings, “How will I know if he really loves me?”Pop Music asks some of the most probing questions we can imagine.Many of them are secular versions of Spirituals, Gospel Music or Hymns.How will I know if He really loves me?How will I know if He really exists?How will I know if He’s really there?What would I say if he insists?(Sorry, that last one slipped in from my review of "Glee: How to Plot an Episode in 70 Words".) To which the tabloid press add:How could I tell?And, more significantly, in the Facebook era: Who could I tell?How would I tell them? Can Anybody Find Me Somebody to Love?Freddie Mercury sings, “Can anybody find me somebody to love?”Can anybody find me somebody to love me?We need somebody to love.We need somebody to love us.Need, need, need, need, need.We are the most psychologically needy creatures ever to inhabit this Earth, but we are also the most skeptical.We need to believe, we want to believe, we want to be believed in, but we are plagued by doubt.How Could We Tell?If Jesus or God returned to Earth, how could we tell it was Him?Would we expect Him to perform a miracle?Would we ask Him to show us His wounds?What if She wore a dress?What if He wore a suit?What if She was a Democrat? (God forbid.)What if He was a Republican? (God forbids.)How would we know?How could we tell?Lift Up Your Heads, Read JoyceAs probing and insightful as these questions are, there is an equally important set of literary questions.Would we recognise James Joyce if he was in our midst?What if he wasn’t wearing a hat?How should we laud him?Re-Joyce, the Lord is KingOn the other hand, there's the reader’s equivalent of the old chestnut: who is the next Bob Dylan?Who is the next James Joyce?Would we recognise them?Would we recognise the next “Ulysses”?Could someone in the 21st century write the greatest novel ever written?Does it have to be a (or the) Great American Novel to qualify?What if it was the Great Asian Novel?What if it wasn’t written by Haruki Murakami? (I’d have egg on my face then, wouldn’t I?)What if it was written by an Englishman?What if it was “number9dream”?2001: A Time and Space Oddity David Mitchell released his second novel in 2001.Having read the novel twice, I wondered what the blurb had said: “David Mitchell’s second novel belongs in a Far Eastern, multi-textual, urban-pastoral, road-movie-of-the-mind, cyber-metaphysical, detective/family chronicle, coming-of-age-love-story genre of one. It is a mesmerizing successor to his highly acclaimed and prize-winning debut, “Ghostwritten’.” The blurb-writer should be sacked.This is understatement of the highest (or is it, lowest?) order.“number9dream” is a time and space oddity.But, more importantly, it is a time and space odyssey.It is a 21st century “Ulysses”.No, this is an understatement.It is the 21st century “Ulysses”.Prove It? These are Facts! “It is so much simpler to bury reality than it is to dispose of dreams”: Don DeLillo, “Americana” Proof? You want proof?Must I show you Mitchell’s wounds? Must I document all his miracles?Oh ye of little faith.Must I bury reality, so that I can disclose his dreams?OK. Prove it. Just the facts. The confidential. This case that I’ve been working on so long…On Approaching “number9dream” (A Guide for Television Fans)“First you creepThen you leapUp about a hundred feetYet you're in so deepYou could write the Book.ChirpchirpThe birdsThey're giving you the wordsThe world is just a feelingYou undertook.Remember?”It’s Juxtaposition (I Didn’t Imagine Getting Myself Into)So, how would David Mitchell tell his story?How would he know what to say?“number9dream” is typical of Mitchell’s writing in that it is not a straight linear narrative.It collects nine (apparently) disparate chapters and juxtaposes them against each other.I have to confess that I didn’t really have a clue what was going on (and why) until the middle of Chapter 5 (“Study of Tales”).Up until then, Mitchell seemed to be just assembling his paints and brushes on the table, getting everything ready, drawing an outline, only no picture was emerging.But is it too much to expect a reader to wait 250 pages before they start to get it?I think of Mitchell as a mosaic artist.I see him as an author who might feel that meaning and society have become fragmented or broken, but whose counter-strategy is to fix it by making it whole again.He is one of a group of artists who shepherds us from disintegration to integration. Individually and socially.As long as people feel that alienation is not a natural or desirable state, I will look to culture and artists like Mitchell for this experience and outcome.Yet, I had started to believe that this work might be an artistic failure, that he was trapped in mere juxtaposition.The chapters didn’t seem to be conversing, they weren’t informing each other, they weren’t relating to each other. It was only in chapter 5 that the mosaic started to take shape for me.Father On Up the RoadEiji Miyake is a 20-year old boy from the country who now lives in Tokyo.His father abandoned his family when he was very young.His twin sister, Anju, died nine years ago when they were 11.Eiji’s mother became an alcoholic, and he more or less ran away from home.It’s about time he started to make something of his life.In a way, Eiji is a composite of both Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom from Joyce’s “Ulysses”.Eiji and Stephen are on a quest to find a biological or metaphorical father, to flesh out, contextualise and complete a family.Eiji and Bloom are on a quest to consummate or repair a sexual relationship, which in Eiji’s case will mark the completion of his passage through adolescence (in the same way it does in Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood”).Joyce took 18 Episodes, Mitchell takes nine Chapters (one of which is wordless, apart from the digit “9”).Joyce’s work is structurally modeled on Homer’s “Odyssey”.Mitchell’s work takes “Ulysses” and leaps from it into a postmodern waterfall of meanings.Only, paradoxically, like “Alice in Wonderland”, he leaps upwards rather than diving downwards – hence, “First you creep/Then you leap/Up about a hundred feet/Yet you're in so deep/ You could write the Book”.Playing with Some Ballpark Figures of SpeechWhile Joyce explores different styles of writing in each Episode, Mitchell’s pyrotechnics are on display throughout.However, the stylistic resemblance is most apparent in Chapter 5, where Mitchell playfully works his way through as many figures of speech as he can in the space of 66 pages (alliteration, assonance, consonance, euphony, hyperbole, puns, rhyme, probably many more that I’ll leave you to detect).This happens to be a chapter in which Mitchell conjures a novel within a novel and the character in the internal novel realises that he is being written.It’s important that you not take him too seriously.He’s not using purple prose to display his intellectualism.He’s playing with words in the most Joycean or Nabokovian fashion. ”First frost floated a wafer of ice on edelweiss wine.””The fourth noise, the whisperings which Goatwriter was waiting for, was still a way away, so Goatwriter rummaged for his respectable spectacles to leaf through a book of poems composed by Princess Nukada in the ninth century.””Suddenly the sky screamed at the top of its lungs.” (Note the Pynchoneque screaming.)”A hoochy-koochy hooker honked.”Then there are sentences you just read for the pleasure:”The naked eyeball of the sun stared unblinkingly from a sky pinkish with dry heat.””A desert wind did nothing to cool the world it wandered through.””The road ran as straight as a mathematical constant to the vanishing point.””A quorum of quandom quokkas thumped off as Pithecanthropus flexed his powerful biceps, drummed his treble-barrelled chest and howled a mighty roar.”Don’t worry if they don’t appeal to you. There are plenty of other jelly beans in the packet. There’s bound to be a flavour that you’ll savour.Lookin' for Soul Food (and a Place to Eat)Of course, sooner or later, one of us must know that Mitchell’s journey concerns stories and dreams.Goatwriter seeks out and tells “truly untold tales”, yet is a character in one that is being told.A character in one of Eiji’s dreams tells a story and remarks:”Stories like that need morals. This is my moral. Trust what you dream. Not what you think.”An Ogre in Eiji’s dream warns, “Be very careful what you dream.”An old lady exchanges persimmons for dreams that give her nourishment and replenish her soul:”You are too modern to understand. A dream is a fusion of spirit and matter. Fusion releases energy – hence sleep, with dreams, refreshes. In fact, without dreams, you cannot hold on to your mind for more than a week. Old ladies of my longevity feed on the dreams of healthy youngsters such as yourself.””Dreams are the shores where the ocean of spirit meets the land of matter. Beaches where the yet-to-be, the once were, the will-never-be may walk amid the still-are.”In a world of telephones, televisions, computers, technology, we have lost touch with the tactile and the spiritual, we have become too analytical and serious.We have lost our sense of humour and absurdity and play.We are not being refreshed the way we need to be.We are consuming too many spirits of an alcoholic nature and too little soul food. number9dream (Lennon’s on Sale Again)Of course, “#9 Dream” is the name of a John Lennon song, and Lennon features in the novel.Eiji plays guitar and learns how to play all of John Lennon’s songs.He meets Lennon in a dream and discusses the meaning of three songs: “Tomorrow Never Knows”, "Norwegian Wood” and “#9 Dream”.Eiji asks Lennon about the meaning of “Tomorrow Never Knows”.John jokes, “I never knew” (and they “giggle helplessly”).John explains that the song wrote him, rather than him writing it.Character John is being a bit disingenuous here.In the song, real John advises “turn off your mind, relax and float downstream”, “lay down all thoughts and surrender to the void”, “listen to the colour of your dreams” and “play the game ‘Existence’ to the end/of the beginning”: “Love is all and love is everyoneIt is knowing.” These messages are consistent with the themes of the novel.Character John also reveals that “#9 Dream” is a descendant of “Norwegian Wood”.Both are ghost stories. While “Norwegian Wood” is concerned with loneliness, “#9 Dream” is concerned with harmony: “two spirits dancing so strange”.John also explains that “the ninth dream begins after every ending”.In a sense, there is a sequence of eight dreams, the eighth dream ends the first cycle and is followed by a ninth dream which starts a new cycle.This explains why chapter 9 of the novel is blank.It is an empty capsule or container for Eiji (and the reader) to fill with our new vision.After eight chapters, we have simply reached the end of the beginning.If Sex was NineBy the end of chapter 8, Eiji has completed his quests for his father and a partner, in different ways.At the very end, we see him running from the news that there has been a massive earthquake in Tokyo.Having resolved his own concerns, he must still live in a world dictated by the vagaries of Nature.He might be Mother Nature’s Son, but he cannot impose his Will on her.However, just as he might be running from disaster, he is running towards his future, hopefully towards the embrace of his new love, Ai.He is escaping from something to something else.As real John says, he is floating downstream, he is not dying.West Meets EastThere is much more I could say about the detail of the novel.However, I will leave that to you and to others to explore.I want to say something more about why I rate David Mitchell so highly as an author.Mitchell doesn’t just write within the Western literary tradition.His wife, Keiko (to whom he dedicated this book), is Japanese and they lived for many years in Japan.Henry James sought to understand himself by exploring the relationship between the new America and the old Europe.Joseph Conrad sought to understand the Enlightenment of Europe in contrast to the Darkness of Africa.Like John and Yoko, Mitchell works at the intersection of East and West.While at the time of writing he understood and was influenced by Murakami, he has his own distinct and unique voice.The world is not dominated by America or Europe anymore.The future will contain (already contains) Asian DNA.Mitchell understands this and has been exploring it since he first sat at a writing bureau with a pen.His Odyssey extended beyond the Middle East and discovered the Far East (sorry if I offend anyone by using that term, but it says what I need it to say in this context).Whereas Ulysses returned home to Helen of Troy and Bloom duplicated his journey internally within Dublin, Mitchell and his characters have made their home in a global village.They don’t need to return anywhere, because they are comfortable anywhere on this planet.Despite the fragmentation of society by technology and modernism, Mitchell is a Great Integrator.I said at the beginning that I wanted to make a case that Mitchell is a 21st century James Joyce.This case is closed.Postscript: ”If You'll Be My Bodyguard”On the occasion of her death during the week of this review, I want to dedicate this review to Whitney Houston, who I totally adored in “The Bodyguard”.I wore a hired uniform for a week after that film.The film was directed by Lawrence Kasdan (one of my favourite directors, who also directed “The Big Chill”, from which Kevin Costner’s role as "Alex" - the dead guy - was cut).However, the film was also an important statement about the portrayal of inter-racial romance in Hollywood, only it involved a relationship between a white man and a black woman.Hollywood hasn’t had the guts to feature a relationship between a black man and a white woman (like Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie).I’m sorry if I offend anybody by saying that.David Mitchell writes for and about a world in which the answer to the question “how will I know if he really loves me” is color-blind.All hail, David Mitchell and the ship you sail in.Genesis 9:09 (Unauthorised)"So they went into the ark with Noah, by twos, of all flesh and of all colours, in which was the breath of life."

  • Mary
    2019-02-05 05:08

    A story about a 20 year old boy-man looking for the dad he's never met. In theory. Yawn. It's like someone said to David Mitchell "Take this cliched plot, drop some acid and see what happens." And what happens is a lot.The first chapter had me scratching my head. Wait no, I'll be honest, it wasn't that civilized. It had me kicking my feet and sighing and slamming down my coffee cup and internally screeching what the eff is going on here?! Not much later I realized, oh, ohhhh, this is what's going on. Sort of. He's doing stuff. Good stuff. Dream sequences and fantasies and what ifs and all that jazz. The result was starting to seem like Murakami - if Murakami had consumed seventeen red bulls and a baggie of speed. Chaotic and frantic and the makings of awesomeness. By chapter two I began to think the trick to this book was to stop trying to get it and just go with it. Just let it take me at breakneck speed through the underground imaginary dreamy creepy deathly tunnels and streets of Mitchell's Tokyo. (Stop trying to make it Murakami's Tokyo, Mary!) By chapter three I was immersed and thinking back to chapter one and how much fun this whole crazy book is. Escapism. I'm doing it and so is Eiji. Dozens of realities exist in our heads, hundreds of forks in the road, which would we take? How much fun is it to blow up buildings and people and be a super hero in our heads while sipping coffee in a diner and people watching?By chapter four and five I was annoyed and slightly bored. This book is like a sugar rush and halfway through it I crashed. It was like a Monday morning at work when everything is busy and phones are ringing and corporate heads are quacking and I'm zoned out and living twelve different lives in my head, like the early parts of the story....and then mid way through the book I look up and it's mid afternoon and people are feeding quarters into the office vending machine to purchase the will to keep going and I'm spent and just wanna go home already (it's hard work pretending to work hard).So yeah. This book is like that.The key I think is to just not take it so seriously. There is something sterile, something detached about Eiji and his life. His world/s are cold and dark and so is this book. Yet, it downright hysterical throughout. It's creative and different and challenging - and those are all wonderful things for a book to be.

  • Stephen M
    2019-02-18 07:17

    A Study of Tales or “Like watching a musician play his scales very, very well”SourceThe tension between style and substance dominates a significant portion of the David Mitchell conversation. Fairly consistently Mitchell’s writing falls into the style side of this writing dichotomy. As with anything, it's an issue of taste for anyone who has dipped their hand into the creative writing pot. It splits writers of all different stripes, in genre, literature or otherwise with geniuses on both sides. To me, the definitive distinction falls between those one care more about the content that the words purport to signify versus those who care more about the words themselves, deriving aesthetic pleasure from the effect that words can have, even if tangentially related to their referents. Finding a particular niche in workshops and MFA circles, accusations of purple prose and self-indulgent descriptions fly freely from minimalist tongues towards those of the latter camp. I am an inveterate defender of that latter camp. I've always considered content to be accidental; I read literature because I love words. I want to be dazzled by what they are capable of on their own, unburdened by the requirements of their referents.I think anyone with a taste for poetry and excessive prose will agree with these sentiments. When I declare Mitchell a brilliant writer, I don’t mean it any capacity to strip down the prose and tell some brutally honest tale in the Hemingway sense; he’s not in that business. I don’t mean to say that he spins out a deft plot, a wildly original story (he wears his influences on his sleeves) but rather, I mean that David Mitchell is a level-ten wordsmither, capable of making any situation, no matter how banal or derivative come alive with soaring prose. Goatwriter, the stutterer, writes an untellable storyI think that the frustration that most people find with this book is that it's scatterbrained and unfocused. My previous apologetic move was to point out a flaw in Mitchell’s ambition that he tried to cover too much ground and was unable to make good on his original intentions. Upon a second reading, I now see that the book is exactly as it should be. What seems to be a mess of splintered threads and tangential story lines is really the product of a book about the search for meaning. As it is with any book that treats this topic (Crying of the Lot comes to mind), it is part of the function of the book to simulate the frustration that arises from seeking meaning out of a chaotic external world. On the one hand, Mitchell is showing us all the literary gymnastics he is capable of pulling off. On the other hand, he is imbuing us with the experience of Mr. Eiji Miyake, a twenty year old cast away in the big city for the first time, confronted with first loves, loss of innocence, struggling to find out what it is that matters to him. Of the thousands of avenues into the buildingsroman, Mitchell takes this route, an exploration into the fertile time period of your 20's ripe with existential crises, one night stands and cigarettes.Confusion is justified. On my first reading, I was thoroughly confused by the misadventures of Goatwriter in his anthropomorphic fantasy land. Now it is my favorite part of the book. It is full of genuine hilarity and brilliant wordplay and it highlights the struggle to reach some elusive, ultimate meaning. It seems so ineffable. The only true story and the ultimate meaning therein is the one that hasn’t been told, the ninth dream that begins when all other dreams fall away.Meaning is what we intuit from disparate facts after we’ve exhausted all immediate evidence. The ninth dream is a blank slate for the reader to project his/her meaning upon the book. The final words of anything hums with significance, a real goosebump affair that sends the reader back to the beginning to begin his search for meaning all over again.

  • Steve
    2019-01-24 03:09

    You know those compound German constructions, like schadenfreude, comprised of dissimilar single words? Well, I’ve got a new one that ought to exist if it doesn’t already. It’s schadenselbstungeduld, which translates roughly to “the sadness of your own impatience.” Maybe you can guess why I’m bringing this up. I’ve had a bad case of it since last month when I joined the ranks of several Goodreads friends who have read all five of the David Mitchell books. We’re now waiting long days, weeks, or, heaven forfend, even months for him to give us our next fix.As a last high from the current stash, number9dream was a good one. And the ending, about which my keyboard remains silent, made me want more – no, in fact, more than that – more to the 9th power. The main character, Eiji, is a young man with problems. Parental abandonment is certainly part of it. A separate tragedy from his boyhood is always at the fore as well. He goes to Tokyo to resolve what he can, but he’s not all that practical. In fact, his daydreams and fantasies often get in the way. They’re a useful device for Mitchell, though, since they give his creative juices a chance to flow (if not gush) freely. As for Eiji’s real life, it’s a multifarious journey. His destination is sometimes diffuse, but seems to include acceptance of his situation, love, a sense of self, and whatever else coming of age stories are meant to bring. Along the way he meets some interesting people, drawn in Mitchell’s customary way to a full human scale. Eiji also meets a few scum-of-the-earth types from warring yakuza gangs. The plot features plenty of action, some that seems as crazy as Eiji’s dreams. (At one point it struck me as funny that it mattered so much to me to know if a scene was a made-up dream when, in fact, a work of fiction is itself made up. But you see where I was coming from – I wanted to know what was what for the integrity of the story (as opposed to the story within the story, nested like these parentheses.)) The only points I took off for in this otherwise excellent book were for a few heinous crime sequences that I felt were over-the-top. I almost got the sense that Mitchell didn’t feel the reality of them either (within the story, that is) since Eiji didn’t seem as affected by them as a real, sentient person probably would be. The pyrotechnics are something I think Mitchell has always been drawn to, and he seems to have learned since how to modulate his use of them. Cloud Atlas, his next book after this one, provides all the evidence you need of his ultimate mastery. Back to number9dream and its many positives:-- The little narrative devices worked – lots of perspectives and styles including cyberpunk, crime drama (boiled good and hard), fantasy (a kid’s story within the story about a goat who would sometimes unwittingly eat the pages he wrote), and military history (a moving tale in epistolary form of a suicide mission in WWII).-- Eiji is a very likable character. You’re happy for every small victory and anxious with every new threat.-- The young lady he likes, the waitress with the beautiful neck and sublime musical talent, is wise beyond her years. She’s given some thought-provoking lines.-- Those of us who are big DM fans have always liked the way he writes. He has fun, he chooses his words well, and he’s very creative with both structure and concept. That’s all in evidence here.-- People tell me that after DM, HM (Murakami) should be next. Is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle a good choice?I’ll end this with a personal note to David since he seems likely to respond to the pleas of his devoted fans. Will you please hurry up with that next one?! You don’t seem like the type to revel in schadenfreude at our collective schadenselbstungeduld.

  • Peter Boyle
    2019-02-02 10:10

    Do you ever set books aside for a special occasion? I like to keep certain novels on hold for holidays, so that when I reminisce about a particular vacation, I will also think about what I was reading at the time. I have very fond memories of devouring The Goldfinch on a visit to London a couple of years ago, and being so immersed in the story that I almost missed my plane. David Mitchell is one of my favourite writers and I had been saving number9dream for a while now. I took it with me on a trip to Munich last week and I'm happy to report that it didn't disappoint.Eiji Miyake is our hero, a nineteen-year-old boy from the tiny island of Yakushima off the coast of Japan. He arrives in Tokyo on a mission to locate his father, whom he has never met. Eiji feels alone in the world, abandoned by a troubled mother and still mourning the loss of his beloved sister Anju. But his visit to this restless, pulsing city will take on him a wild adventure of gangsters, hackers and potential love interests. Whether or not he finds what he is looking for, his life will never be the same again.Eiji is a daydreamer and dreams are a very important part of this novel. Indeed the story begins with a number of his fantasies as he summons the courage to enter the office of his father's lawyer. It gives David Mitchell the license to exercise his colourful imagination - Eiji pictures himself assassinating Yakuza mobsters like a scene from an action movie, and becoming the saviour of a flood that rapidly engulfs the city. Later on the book Eiji's dreams seem to take on greater meaning, as his subconscious attempts to make sense of everything that has happened to him on his Tokyo expedition.Readers of David Mitchell will know how ambitious his novels are, and it is something I admire him for. He takes great risks with structure, and number9dream is no different. We are served up stories within stories - one chapter contains excerpts from the journal of Eiji's great uncle, a suicide bomber during World War II. In another section Eiji hides out at the home of a writer and passes the time by reading her latest manuscript, which features three talking animals who ride around in a self-driving coach. Parts of this bizarre tale are interspersed with the main text.Not all of these literary tricks work and to be honest I grew a little weary of the distractions from the principal story. Though dreams have a major role to play in this sprawling tale, it works best when it is anchored in the real world. The slow blossom of Eiji's relationship with Ai, his desperate longing for his unseen father, his heart-wrenching memories of Anju - these were the parts of the novel I loved most and will remember.This was Mitchell's second novel and it is the work of a writer still honing his craft. Though it doesn't quite hit the heights of Cloud Atlas, it is a true delight to experience his unfettered imagination in full flow. number9dream an audacious, dazzling book - an acrobatic feat of storytelling that never fails to entertain.

  • tim
    2019-01-26 09:16

    Number9Dream, what is a relatively administered star-rating system compared to the joy I experience while reading you? Faults and all. I don't completely understand everything you revealed with my mind awake, but your echo resonates lucidly through my dreamtime. You say: "Time may be what stops everything happening at once, but rules are different asleep." How I know this to be true, yet could never prove. Fantasies and dreams. Cause and effect. Repeated conclusions reveal nothing where conclusions don't exist. What we experience, day and night, happens, regardless of comprehensible explanations. "Dreams are shores where the ocean of spirit meets the land of matter...where the yet-to-be, the once-were, the will-never-be may walk awhile with the still-are."With eyes open or closed, meaning lurks everywhere amongst these pages, knowing no boundaries.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-01-31 03:57

    “Reality is the page. Life is the word.” ― David Mitchell, number9dream Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé Another 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.

  • Shovelmonkey1
    2019-02-04 06:23

    Mild SevenParliamentCabinPeaceKentHopePhilip MorrisMarlborough LightThat's the number of different cigarette brands cited and smoked in this novel. Frankly, it's a good job that this book only covers 8 weeks in the life of narrator and protagonist, Eeji Miyake, because he's unlikely to live for too much longer. Follow Miyake as he smokes, gurns, fantasises and bull-shits his way around Tokyo trying to find his long-lost Pops and enjoy the literary games and jousting word-smithery that accompanies this. David Mitchell has once again cleared his literary throat and spewed forth a load of different writing styles. Mostly you are left with the impression that he write to amuse himself; it's a way of stretching some newly formed literary muscle that he's developed. Very clever Mr Mitchell, and better than Cloud Atlas (for me anyway), but cleverness and a big collection of exercises in grammatical madness be it alliterative, metaphorical, tautological, allusion or allegorical can only take you so far before the reader decides they don't want to have to look that hard for a story within a complexly constructed chain of words. The vocab equivalent of the Gordion knot where a clean slice at it will only get your paper cuts and not answers.

  • Hannah
    2019-02-20 08:22

    5 Stars - Phenomenal book!This is the fourth David Mitchell book I’ve read, and none have disappointed. Every time I start a new book by this author I’m hesitant because I figure, by the law of averages, that one has to be a dud. I have not found that “one” yet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I never found it.This book is so beautifully written. It's strange and heart wrenching, funny and relatable. I have never known another author to compact so many emotions into one book and make the book a good read. In short, this book is about Eiji Miyake and his search for his birth father. Seems simple enough, however that is not the case when Mitchell is the one writing the story. We follow Miyake's actual life and his dreams, what could have been. I don't want to give too much away because this book deserves to be read. However, I will say that the title comes from the John Lennon song by the same name (#9 Dream). David Mitchell and John Lennon. How can that be anything other than spectacular?! I like to think of this book as surrealist art personified, or written and quantified in some way. It's hard to describe. Imagine if a Dalí or Magritte painting was a book. This would be that book. I'm still having trouble putting into words how fantastic this book is. I also appreciate how different this is from his author books. Don't get me wrong, this is style very clearly by the same guy who wrote my beloved Slade House, The Bone Clocks, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Yet this story seems to be rooted in more reality than the others, or at least that's how it felt to me. I think that's because the base story (that's what I call the generally plot of Mitchell's books - or what the main character is going through. I know I'm not explaining myself very well) makes the most sense to me. No, I (view spoiler)[was not an illegitimate child, no my mother didn't abandon me. No, I didn't go from the country to the big city searching for my long-lost father, etc. (hide spoiler)] But I think that that storyline isn't uncommon or groundbreaking and it's familiar and something I know that a lot of people can relate to on many levels. It was real. And when the real is wrapped in this sci-fi/fantasy it makes for an incredible story.Do I recommend this book? Look, I understand that Mitchell's style is not for everyone - especially and including this book. If you're not a fan of the author I guarantee you won't like this book. Though of course, because I loved the book, I want everyone to read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

  • ·Karen·
    2019-01-24 07:54

    The devil has all the best tunes, and the fiendish Mr Mitchell is in cahoots with Old Nick for the best stories too. What worries me is what the deal involves? Selling your soul to Mephistopheles is a risky manoeuvre for sure. This, Mitchell's second novel and the last one that I had not read, is the story of one who is punished by the God of Thunder, by being given exactly what he asked for. Beware of what you wish for, as it may be granted. Having lost his twin sister in that deal, bereft of a mother too, his quest to find the father he never knew becomes a compulsion that drives him into another perilous bargain with the Prince of Darkness himself, the head of one of the warring Yakuza gangs of Tokyo. What follows is the kind of heady mix that previous work of Michell's has led me to expect: pulp fiction type action, cyberwars, video games, city life, history, dreams, family, love, music, all blended to a fairground ride that has the pace of a thriller. Reality, fantasy, dream, jumps in time: keeping up with where you are is challenging; the rewards are more than compensation enough.

  • Jonathan Terrington
    2019-02-12 05:13

    I apologise in advance if this seems more incoherent and rushed than anything I've written previously. I'm just so in awe of the bizarreness of number9dream that my thoughts are not settled on the book.Okay what I want to know is what David Mitchell was taking when he wrote this...so I can join in with the elixir! Seriously this is a whacked out, crazy kind of book that's strangely compulsive reading but doesn't make a lot of sense in places. I must admit that the whole time I was reading it went like this:First few chapters: Interesting, like the little anecdotal stories, don't see what they have to do with anythingAround 100 pages: Hang on the protagonist did what? What's he doing in that weird hotel (this was the part that I personally hated the most)Around 200 pages in: Still doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's gripping reading300 pages in: I still don't get it...400 pages in: Done, I still don't get it, it's like a roller coaster ride on hallucinogens (not that I know what hallucinogens are like), fun but you don't know what ride you were on exactlyThis was my second try at David Mitchell and I must say that this was as far from my usual reading as anything I have read. It was very, very different to Cloud Atlas. Where I saw some interesting ideas in Cloud Atlas, a kind of depth (personally) beyond the stylistic choice of writing, number9dream was more about the stylistic choices and fun entertaining tale than any depth. I think I'll have to try the other three David Mitchell books I have waiting to read rather than mull over this.The plot of this is 'boy tries to find father in city, never having met Dad.' Yes the plot has been done to death but the way it is done is what matters and I think Mitchell was trying to write this book in a way to show that sometimes in life dreams turn out in the end to be disappointing failures and not how we think they should turn out. I think his encouragement is that that doesn't matter, that it is the process of trying to find our dream and who we meet that counts. Along the way through this story Mitchell throws in other little stories (humorous stories about religion which I found quite amusing), references to John Lenon, a diary of a human torpedo, sci-fi technologies and a whole plot involving the Yakuza.On the whole a bizarre and zany novel with lots of quirkiness, but still highly entertaining. It was also a very fast read, much faster than Cloud Atlas but I didn't like it as much. If you liked Cloud Atlas you might like this. If you hated Cloud Atlas you might still like this. It's a book that I think will be liked depending on the individual's taste rather than it being a book that the majority of people will like.

  • Ian Laird
    2019-02-19 02:58

    Revisionism: 27 August 2015It’s a fine winter’s day in Sydney.Earlier and somewhat dyspeptically, I threw my hands up about number9dream because I was confused. I found the story hard to follow and did not know what was real and what was fantasy.With time it has occurred to me that I should give more mature consideration to the essence of the story: the fluttering distractions have fallen to the ground and the broader landscape has become clearer. The story is a boy’s search; ostensibly for his father, but perhaps also about a boy becoming a man, gaining some experience, albeit not always pleasant, sometimes dangerous and even terrifying, searching for himself, and growing up. (view spoiler)[ Even though Eiji eventually finds his father this becomes unimportant, or certainly less important, of itself. The quest to find his father remains important, but the man himself and the boy’s relationship with him quite suddenly gets a new perspective.Eiji’s reconciliation with his mother is the more meaningful development.As is Eiji’s relationship with his dead sister Anju, with whom he shared much and feels her loss keenly. This reminds me of Holden Caulfield’s remembrance of his lost brother Allie in The Catcher in the Rye. (hide spoiler)]So I might not be able to sort out in my head the meaning of Panopticon and the cartoonish lawyer Akikoi Kato, the deadly adventures with the Yakuza, brilliant set pieces though they are, the story telling animals, mini submarines in World War Two; and why chapter 9 is blank. Why is chapter 9 blank?I can see the truth about the waitress with the beautiful neck who plays music so well the truth about her and Eiji. That is real.The weather in Sydney is pleasantly mild now. [Note to self: move book to three stars.]***This is what I wrote earlier:This is by way of a preliminary review, done in a state of confused uncertainty heightened by near cyclonic weather conditions in Sydney and all along the coast of New South Wales. I have finally got through this frustrating and difficult book after making at least four, possibly five attempts over the past twelve months. I always got to about page 50 or 60 and then stopped, confused and bewildered by the story/plot/goings on. But in recent weeks I have persisted. But to what end?Eiji Miyake is a gormless youth looking for his father, who may be a cabinet minister, a yakuza godfather or a lawyer. His mother may have tried to kill him. His sister drowned. He appears to be engaged in a bizarre mission impossible single person attack on a law office; finds himself caught in the crossfire of a yakuza war; in love with someone who works in a café, plays the piano and has the hots for Debussy. Eiji's distant ancestor was a suicide mini submarine pilot in the bushido tradition.And so on...what does it all mean?I was not ill-prepared for this, I contend. I enjoyed, immensely, the intricate plotting and creative imagination Mitchell brings to Ghostwritten. But this one, I had to slog all the way through - I am trying to get to Cloud Atlas. And what's with the nines? I get that they keep turning up, but to what purpose? Perhaps I should take up smoking again enjoy a Carlton/Parliament/Cabin and chill.

  • Marianne
    2019-01-31 02:07

    “Dreams are shores where the ocean of spirit meets the land of matter. Beaches where the yet-to-be, the once-were, the will-never-be may walk amid the still-are”number9dream is the second novel by British author, David Mitchell. Nineteen-year-old Eiji Miyake arrives in Tokyo looking for his father, a man he has never met, a man whose name he does not even know. He has a letter from a lawyer warning him not to try to find his father, so his first move is to stake out the lawyer’s office from a café opposite, the Jupiter Café, where works a girl with the most beautiful neck in the world. So begins another foray into the world of David Mitchell, one that takes the reader on an interesting (and occasionally, slightly bizarre) journey. As Eiji moves from the café to the Lost Property Office of Ueno station to a game parlour to an unfinished development on reclaimed land to a safe house to a video shop to a pizza shop to a mountain retreat, he also moves in and out of danger and encounters quite a cast of (often quirky) individuals. Claude Debussy and John Lennon play significant roles, as do the Yakuza organised crime syndicate, an overabundance of cigarettes, some seriously weird pizza recipes, a cat, an absent mother and a dead twin sister.Mitchell manages to seamlessly include the journal of a WW2 Kaiten pilot, scenes from a surreal black and white movie, a fantastic tale starring a stuttering goatwriter, a hen and a Pithecanthropus, an account of sex slavery and organ theft, and, of course, quite a few dreams. The number nine and its elements, unsurprisingly, feature heavily but in quite a subtle way. As with all of Mitchell’s novels, there are characters who appear in earlier and later books. Mitchell’s characters, for all their oddities, are appealing; their dialogue and Eiji’s inner monologue provide plenty of humour; and they manage to express some insightful observations: “Weird. All these people like my mother paying counsellors and clinics to reattach them to reality; all these people like me paying Sony and Sega to reattach us to unreality” and “Maybe the truest difference between people is exactly this: how they see why they are here” also “Maybe the meaning of life lies in looking for it”.The (perhaps) abrupt ending that leaves things very much “up in the air” may not be to every reader’s taste, but the characters, plot and prose more than compensate, especially the delightful feast of rhyme, alliteration and incredibly clever wordplay of the goatwriter piece. An excellent read.

  • Solistas
    2019-01-30 02:05

    Αρκετά διαφορετικό απ'το Ghostwritten, το δεύτερο βιβλίο του Mitchell είναι η coming of age ιστορία του 20χρόνου Eiji Miyake που μετακομίζει στο Τόκυο με σκοπό να βρει κ να γνωρίσει τον πατέρα του. Το number9dream είναι πρώτα κ κύρια μια ωδή στον Μουρακάμι κ ο Mitchell δεν το κρύβει. Αναφέρει ότι ο πρωταγωνιστής του έχει αφήσει μισό το Κουρδιστό Πουλί κ δεν ξέρει τι απέγινει ο τύπος που κατέβηκε στο πηγάδι χωρίς σχοινί, παίρνει τον τίτλο του βιβλίου του από τραγούδι του Λέννον κ βάζει τον μεγάλο μουσικό να πει ότι το συγκεκριμένο τραγούδι είναι απόγονος του Norwegian Wood, αφήνει αρκετές ιστορίες ανοιχτές κ πάνω απ'όλα δημιουργεί μια ονειρική ατμόσφαιρα με τρόπο παρόμοιο με αυτό του Ιάπωνα στις καλύτερες του στιγμές. Από κει κ πέρα υπάρχει μια κεντρική θεματική που ενώνει τις πάμπολλες ιστορίες κ ασχολείται με το πως ο κάθε άνθρωπος βρίσκει το νόημα της ζωής (του). Είναι διαφορετικό για ένα πολεμιστή σε έναν πόλεμο, διαφορετικό για μια πιανίστρια με υπέροχο λαιμό που ονειρεύεται να σπουδάσει στο Παρίσι κ φυσικά διαφορετικό για τον ήρωα που προσπαθεί να πιαστεί από κάπου (οπουδήποτε), ακριβώς γιατί η δικιά του ερμηνεία φαίνεται να οδηγεί στην ίδια την αναζήτηση του νοήματος. Ο ρόλος των ονείρων έχει περίοπτη θέση στο κείμενο κ δίνει την δυνατότητα στον Mitchell να δείξει τα δόντια του ως συγγραφέας γιατί το δικό του ταλέντο εκεί βρίσκεται. Είναι απίθανος γραφιάς, καθηλωτικός storyteller κι ακόμα κι αν τα βιβλία του έχουν ελαττώματα, προσφέρει απλόχερα ψυχαγωγία κ μάλιστα υψηλής ποιότητας.Στο βιβλίο συμβαίνουν αρκετά τραγελαφικά σκηνικά, κάποια λειτουργούν καλύτερα απ'τα άλλα, όμως σε γενικές γραμμές δεν μπορείς να παρά να παρασυρθείς απ'τη ιστορία ακόμα κι αν είσαι σίγουρος ότι χάνεις συνδέσεις κ σκέψεις μεταξύ ονείρου κ πραγματικότητας, ακόμα κ αν σου περνάει απ'το μυαλό ότι ο Mitchell δεν σου παρουσιάζει κ καμία πρωτότυπη ιδέα. Προσωπικά, ως συγγραφέας με εξιτάρει κ σιγά σιγά εθίζομαι στα βιβλία του, όπως κόλλησα με το παιχνίδι με τον αριθμό 9. Εννοείται λοιπόν ότι το κεφάλαιο 9 είναι κενό γιατί "the ninth dream begins after every ending". Σειρά παίρνει το Cloud Atlas, ελπίζω σύντομα.

  • Matthew Quann
    2019-01-23 10:01

    Well, I suppose all of Mitchell's novels can't be absolute home runs! Reminiscent in many ways of a Haruki Murakami novel, "number9dream"'s propensity to shift between the real and the imagined burdens the novel with a frustrating format despite the compelling story that lies at the novel's core. Set in Japan, where Mitchell spent eight years of his life, "number9dream" follows Eiji Miyake as he goes on a quest to find his estranged biological father he has never met. The novel is divided into 9 chapters, each with a different companion story that accompanies and reflects Miyake's journey through modern Tokyo. The opening chapter itself is frustrating in that the repeated, albeit altered, fantastical situations dreamed up by Miyake are never revealed as fantasy; it is up to the reader to discover the imagined nature of the proceedings for themselves. Despite this extremely confusing and willfully obtuse opening, Eiji Miyake's character is quite likeable and his journey for discovery is thoroughly interesting. Miyake's blunders through minimum wage jobs, finds himself in the middle of a Yakuza feud, slowly falls in love, all the while maintaining his unique perspective and disposition.Another aspect of the book that is immensely enjoyable is the depiction of Japan. I have previously enjoyed Mitchell's superb "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" for its portrayal of the port city of Dejima in the year 1799 and the appreciation and understanding that he brought to Japanese culture. Proving he has a keen eye for the culture in multiple eras, "number9dream"'s modern Japan is wholly realized and believable despite the fantastical and psychedelic sections that permeate most of the book. As an addendum to my aforementioned complaint, not all of the sections are frustrating and some of them do end up being quite enjoyable. In particular, the "Kai Ten" section was easily my favourite as it brought Miyake's quest to a more fulfilling conclusion than his previously intended goal. As for to whom I would recommend the novel, it's a tough one. Fans of Mitchell's more recent output may be frustrated with the book, but I think that Murakami fans may find a lot to like. Experimental in an entirely different way from his other novels, "number9dream" just failed to resonate with me to the same degree as Mitchell's other novels.

  • JSou
    2019-02-06 08:55

    REASONS I LOVED THIS BOOK:-It is by David Mitchell-It made me want to go have sushi & sake bombs-It was surprisingly funny-Not only did it remind me of Murakami, it referenced The Wind-up Bird Chronicle-It had the word "knickerbockers"I was rating this in my head as I went along (something I can't help but do since joining goodreads), and for the first part, I was liking it and thinking 3 stars. Once I hit the halfway point, the Mitchell I know and love emerged, bumping it up to a four. By the end of the novel, there were some solid 5 star passages.Set in Tokyo, Eijii Miyake is on a quest to find the father he's never met. His character is slowly revealed not just by his actions, but also through his various dreams. Usually, my eyes start to glaze over when reading about dreams (or song lyrics), but in this, it worked. "How do you smuggle daydreams into reality?" Mitchell was able to do this brilliantly, showing that reality is constantly different than what we have going on in our innermost thoughts. Throughout life, there's times when it's disappointing, and other times it turns out better than you could have possibly imagined.

  • Cecily
    2019-02-04 06:05

    Set in Japan in the present or perhaps the near future, with several versions of early bits of the plot. Is it real or is it a computer game - certainly he plays computer games? Some wonderful metaphors and some ludicrously contrived and awkward ones. Too much organised crime and mindless violence for my taste, with little of the beauty of his other books to provide balance or contrast. (Number 9 Dream is a Beatles song that plays at a disco in Black Swan Green (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...).)

  • Deea
    2019-02-01 10:24

    This novel has an open ending, but there are clues regarding the possible developments of the story all over the last chapter. Although it has eight chapters and each has a name, the author ends the book with the ninth chapter which is simply called "Nine" and left empty. "The ninth dream begins after every ending", says David Mitchell, continuing the subtle insinuation that the story is to be continued in our imagination, but taking into account several clues from the last chapter: "Time may be what prevents everything from happening at the same time in waking reality, but the rules are different in dreams." In dreams everything is possible, characters from different moments of our lives gather to recreate parallel realities, to embody different personalities. Dreams play with reality like kids with plasticine and create alternative meanings which having been auditioned by the present or the past, had been rejected in order to give way to other story-threads (the actual reality). The energy generated by our dreams constitute the nourishment of the witches who are still among us, but because our "world is lit by television, threaded by satellites, cemented by science" admitting their existence seems far-fetched for "the nowadays us". "Dreams are shores where the ocean of spirit meets the land of matter. Beaches where the yet-to-be, the once-were, the will-never-be may walk amid the still-are."The alternance between dreams and reality is fascinating in this story and the main character ends up wondering if he is a dream of the real Eiji Miyake and when he goes to sleep and dreams, the real Eiji Miyake wakes up and remembers his waking life as a dream. Mitchell succeeds in writing a great final chapter for a book which at some points seems unfocused, with details that could be easily skipped without altering the story.It's obvious all the way through the book that he is a great fan of Murakami's: not only does he say that the main character, Eiji, is reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle", but he seems to even adopt Murakami's style and adapt it to his own way of creating literature. Moreover, Eiji is alike in many ways with Kafka Tamura from "Kafka on the Shore" by Murakami, and all the other characters seem to borrow something from the oddity and charm of Murakami's characters. Maybe it is just my impression, but the author himself declares openly to hold Murakami as a great source of inspiration.Although I kept wondering while reading this book whether I was really enjoying it or not, the ending somehow brought all the loose ends together and I ended up thinking that it was really worth reading it. Moreover, although the story might not seem very catchy: a young boy starts a quest for his father whom he has never met, Mitchell's very plastic phrases and original use of words, his very creative, unique way of expressing his ideas and his humor create a special reading rhythm which is very entertaining. Therefore, although it seems a light read at a superficial level, once the hidden meanings and metaphors begin to unravel, they just pop out in your head continuously...like a bag of popcorn in the oven which seems unable to ever stop.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-01-23 05:56

    Eiji Miyake is looking for his father but he finds many different things…“Squeeze, squelch, squirt. Crocodiles scream, even underwater. The jaws unscissor and the monster thrashes off in spirals. Lao Tzu mimes applause, but I have already gone three minutes without air and the surface is impossibly distant. I kick feebly upwards. Nitrogen fizzes in my brain. Sluggishly I fly, and the ocean sings. Face submerged, searching for me from the stone whale, is my waitress, loyal to the last, hair streaming in the shallows. Our eyes meet for a final time, and then, overcome by the beauty of my own death, I sink in slow, sad circles.”The first part – first dream – is called Panopticon – a building, as a prison or library, so arranged that all parts of the interior are visible from a single point. So we’ll see everything.And a lost property office is a good departure point to start seeking.“Thirty-six bowling balls were left on platform nine, the farthest platform from the lost property office. Suga had performed his disappearing act so I had to lug them over one by one. They were claimed later by a team who were waiting for them at Tokyo Central station. I am learning that laws of probability work differently in the field of lost property.”While searching for his father Eiji Miyake finds himself and he establishes his attitude to life.The eighth dream is titled: The Language of Mountains Is Rain and the language of number9dream is not just water – it is the other three elements as well.

  • Liz S.
    2019-02-10 10:22

    I probably shouldn't be giving this any stars because I didn't even finish it. This was a book club read and none of us got through it, not even the most die-hard David Mitchell fans. I guess this is proof positive that a knack for writing will not save your book if you have nothing particular to say. As one person in our group described it, reading this book is like watching a musician play his scales very, very well---but after a while, you just want to hear him play an actual song for a sustained period of time. Perhaps I'll have better luck reading Cloud Atlas or Black Swan Green.

  • Girish
    2019-02-07 10:06

    It is so much simpler to bury reality than it is to dispose of dreams Writing a book and telling a story are obviously two very different projects especially for an author like Mr.Mitchell. And so, in what is probably the most straightforward plot of a boy in search of his father, the author packs a whole lot of freudian pyrotechnics that blur lines between plots, between genres and between reality.Eiji Miyake reaches 'Tokyo' in search of his father. The Tokyo of Mitchell is a surreal place with characters constantly in search/with dreams of something. The first chapter with sequence of dreams to find the identity of his father is sufficient to discourage a rational reader on the lookout for a conventional read. And then to the pleasant surprise the book introduces characters that recur across chapters! (a first for Mr.Mitchell). But that is about as normal as it would go.We have underground mafia pulp fiction, psychedelic video game narratives, war memoirs, weird erotica of sorts (for the lack of better word) all are made to fit into the narrative. In one of the chapters we see a stuttering novelist Goatwriter in search of an untold story along with his hen assistant and neanderthal assistant which is a meta on the novelist. In another, we meet John Lennon who discusses his songs in a dream state. Plus the #9 Easter egg which you keep ticking off in your head whenever you encounter."#9dream is a descendent of Norwegian Wood says John Lennon"A reference to both the songs by John Lennon and an veiled flattery to Haruki Murakami. (About time I picked up a Murakami)The eruption of fantastic stories weave around the ordinariness of Miyake's 7 weeks in Toyota. His work in the lost property office, the video parlor or later on at Nero's pizza, his sleepless nights looking at the Neon clock, the Cat and the Cockroach as roommates are written absorbingly. The subtle romance between Ai Imagio and Eiji is warm and so is the friendship with his unlikely friends of Suga the hacker and Banturo his landlord. In addition we have the changing cigarette brands that is maddening for a reader which makes you wonder if the entire book is actually a lucid dream of an insomniac. In fact, the book will make you wonder if you dreamed reading the entire book. Genius tribute of Mitchell. Not for everyone

  • Brad
    2019-02-13 04:02

    I gave number9dream five stars way back when I first started rating books around here, but it was far enough removed from reading the book that I didn't feel I could write a review, so there is no chronicle of why I gave it five stars. Since then I have read most of David Mitchell's stuff, but number9dream was my first, so it retains pride of place. I was turned onto it the winter I went home to Canada for Christmas because for some reason that year I decided I was going to read everything shortlisted for the Booker Prize (I did and they were all excellent reads: Oxygen, Hotel World, The Dark Room, Atonement and the winner (don't ask me how) The True History of the Kelly Gang). I knew Ian McEwan and Peter Carey, but I came to the other four authors for the first time. number9dream was the first of the six books I read, and by the time the prize was awarded it was still my favourite. Fourteen years later and I just spent a week and a bit dragging it around from beach to beach, rediscovering the rhythms of David Mitchell's writing -- reminding myself why I love him so much. I don't think I would give number9dream five stars anymore, but I would still give it a strong four (I'm leaving my original stars up regardless), and I don't think my slight distance from loving this book is all that much of a drop off. In many ways the story of Eiji Miyake is irrelevant when it comes to my final feelings about this book because it wasn't so much the story that made me love number9dream as the storytelling, and no matter the characters no matter the plot, if David Mitchell is telling the story, I am going to set the book down with a mixture of sadness and joy. Sadness that the storytelling is over; joy that I had the privilege to listen to his voice for a little while. But since this is a pseudo-review, here's the one specific thing I will say about number9dream. BEST ENDING EVER (or, at least, one of my top 5).

  • Madeleine
    2019-02-01 03:55

    I am so torn over this book! But I figure that being this conflicted between ratings probably means that I should err on the side of the fewer stars. Still: My kingdom for a half-star option!There are lots of things I liked. Eiji, the main character, remains likable even as he's shuttled between hell and back, like, five thousand times in 400 pages and disappointed by nearly everyone who matters to him. There's a chance that his blossoming relationship with Ai contributed to my increasing fondness for him but I'm okay with that because their last exchange of the novel was so believably reminiscent of what it's like to be 20 and falling hard for someone you don't quite know. I liked the dreamy, Murakami flavor, especially after finding out that Mitchell counts him among his influences (according to the internet, which I totally trust all the time). I liked the David Mitchellness and how minute details wind up mattering very much, though I think his hallmarks are far less defined here in his sophomore effort than they are even in his debut novel. References to "The Man in the High Castle," "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" and some music for which Eiji and I share an affinity were all tasty bonuses -- what can I say? I've got a mile-wide soft spot for fictional characters who have the same tastes as I do.But there were also things I wasn't so crazy about in this book. It felt a little disorganized, which, intentional or not, didn't sit perfectly well with me. Some characters and a few scenes hogged a few too many pages: Had I found Eiji a little less interesting, the many detailed accounts of his odd jobs would have been downright tedious. And, okay, fine: The ending was a little too abrupt for me to be satisfied with it. Though I suppose having my way would mean that every book I ever read is at least 100 pages longer than the author intended. Ultimately, this book suffers as "Player Piano" did, in that I'm cherry-picking my way through a writer's back catalog instead of chronologically working my way to the newer stuff: When I was planning this winding-down tour of my literary favorites' unread offerings, I actively chose "Number9dream" over "Thousand Autumns" in anticipation of that very reason. The lingering, negligible sense of dissatisfaction this book left me with is very much appeased by knowing that my sole remaining to-read Mitchell book is his most recent piece.

  • Monique
    2019-02-03 08:14

    No less than 5 amazing stars. Originally posted here.Nine things about number9dream1. That was one helluva whirlwind read! Alternating between reality and fantasies-cum-dreams took me for a loop, but I'd gladly do it again. No one can do that to me and totally awe me like Mitchell just did. 2. Is this metafiction? Are there traces of metafiction in this novel? If the answer is yes to either question, then I think I could definitely get used to the genre. 3. "Maybe the meaning of life lies in looking for it." 4. Study of Tales. Story within a story. Within a story. 5. There is no question now about Mitchell's writing talent - to echo a buddy's observation, is there anything the guy couldn't do? He can write convincingly as a different person, all within a single novel. He jumbles and interjects the literal with the figurative. He's like a literary architect who combines various structural motifs to make a fabulous whole. 6. Notwithstanding the reading slump I endured while this book was on my currently-reading shelf, its appeal did not diminish the least bit. That tells a lot about how awesome this book is, doesn't it?7. It made me curious about John Lennon's song, #9dream, from which the title is derived. Because of this, I'm set to make a playlist devoted solely to songs mentioned in books. 8. The number of references to the Philippines and its citizens brings hope that one of these days, Mitchell will pay a visit to Manila. Fangirl mode!9. [blank]

  • Lilith
    2019-02-18 01:58

    Hay libros que suponen un auténtico reto. Cada uno de los lectores es víctima del suyo propio. Hay libros como Lolita que no están hechos para todo el mundo. Autores que se resisten por mucho que uno lo intente pero también otro tipo de barreras. El de Number9dream es el idioma. Pero no os asustéis antes de tiempo, David Mitchell asusta pero no tanto. Simplemente hay que tener cierto nivel y paciencia, paciencia para entender qué está pasando. Paciencia para avanzar mucho más lento que de costumbre con un libro en inglés que normalmente no te cuesta leer tanto. Superado ese reto Number9dream es todo vuestro. O casi. Si la memoria no me falla, creo recordar que este es el segundo libro del autor, publicado por primera vez en 2001 (o así), y diría que un segundo "acto" lo suficientemente impresionante para gustar hasta a los lectores más exigentes. Eso sí, haters de Haruki Murakami, es mejor dejar pasar este, pues no en vano en la ficha de Goodreads del autor figura el nombre del autor nipón. Y es que David Mitchell supo plasmar algunos de los elementos que más le caracterizan y adaptarlo a su estilo. Aquí no hay chicas con orejas perfectas, pero sí cuellos perfectos. Los momentos de realismo mágico quizás puedan chocar demasiado al principio, y confundir al lector hasta el punto de no entender qué está pasando, (algunas cosas sigo sin entenderlas incluso ahora) pero en su conjunto Number9dream es una novela que pese a sus defectos sigue siendo maravillosamente construida, escrita y, sobre todo, ambientada.Eiji Miyake es un joven de 19 años que está dispuesto a todo para encontrar a alguien. Para ello decide dejar todo atrás y mudarse a Tokio donde está la única pista que tiene para encontrar algún rastro más sobre el paradero de su padre. Sobre quién es él. Necesita respuestas aunque por ahora ni siquiera tenga claras las preguntas. Buscar a alguien sin saber si quiera su nombre en una ciudad como es Tokio puede ser un completo suicidio y Eiji lo sabe bien, sabe que esto le llevará su tiempo. Busca trabajo en diferentes lugares de la ciudad, alquila una pequeña habitación en un hotel cápsula en el cual se hace amigo de su propietario pero también hace una serie de curiosas amistades, cada cual más extraña que la anterior. Number9dream es en ese aspecto una caja de personajes extravagantes. La primera, una camarera que trabaja en una cafetería a la que Eiji va muy a menudo y que aparecerá en más de una ocasión a lo largo de la novela. La hermana de Eiji, a la que conocemos poco a poco, a medida que él se va acordando de historias de cuando eran pequeños y vivían los dos con su abuela. Yuzu Daimon, al cual conoce de casualidad y quien le arrastrará a una de las noches más locas de toda su vida. Buntaro, su mujer y su madre, un trío al que Eiji cogerá muchísimo cariño. Todos ellos tendrá algo que aportar en la vida de Eiji. El patrón que usa David Mitchell recuerda muchísimo a Murakami. El abandono de un ser que se busca desesperadamente. Una chica de la que uno acaba prendado de un modo u otro, ya sea por su oreja o su cuello perfecto. Pero sobre todo una corriente invisible que aunque a primera vista parece que no nos esté llevando a ningún lado, en realidad nos hace avanzar continuamente.Pese a sus extravagancias, situaciones inverosímiles que a ratos cuesta pillar y una cantidad de situaciones cotidianas enorme, la historia de Number9dream es más bien simple; Eiji hace todo lo posible para encontrar a su padre, aunque las consecuencias pueden ser catastróficas. A su vez su madre busca su perdón, por eso, por medio de una serie de cartas lograremos entender un poco mejor por qué está haciendo todo esto. Cuál es el sentido de este viaje. Para qué sirve aguantar ciertas cosas y poner su vida en peligro. Y es que una de las cosas más extrañas que he leído en este libro (y eso que he leído cosas extrañas aquí) pero a la vez más tópica si lo pienso bien, es que uno de los hilos argumentales de la novela tiene que ver con los yakuzas. No sé si la idea inicial era incluir ese arco ya desde que David Mitchell pensó en la novela o si simplemente la quería hacer lo más asequible posible a sus lectores. Y es que al igual que pasa con Murakami, Number9dream es un libro bastante "occidentalizado", de tal modo, que perfectamente podría haber pasado en Nueva York y el protagonista llamarse Alex, aunque no sería lo mismo. Pues lejos de la importancia de la historia en sí, la ambientación general de Number9dream resulta ser una experiencia exquisita para el lector.Algunos lectores puede que queden un tanto desencantados con el conjunto. Un todo-esto-para-qué pero realmente aquí lo que importa es el camino y no el resultado final. A veces puede parecer un poco repetitivo, a veces, parece que las cosas se quedan estancadas pero el arco argumental llega a su fin. Todo se acaba. La historia se cierra. Y tú te preguntas si hubieras hecho lo mismo que él al final. Si hubieras formulado las preguntas. Si hubieras hecho todo esto. Si valía la pena. Yo digo que sí.

  • James
    2019-01-24 03:59

    Spending New Year's away from home with less than a chapter left in my book – and no back-up book – was always going to be a stupid mistake. Luckily, when everybody else foolishly headed out for a New Year's Day walk in the rain I was able to raid my host's bookcase and grabbed a copy of David Mitchell's number9dream; I'd enjoyed Cloud Atlas enough to try something from earlier...number9dream is the story of Eiji Miyake: a twenty year old Japanese lad from Yukashima who has arrived in Tokyo with the intention (or you might say dream) of meeting his father. Eiji is an effective orphan. His mother is a absent and his father is completely unknown. Instead he grew up with his extended family and his sister, Anju. We follow Eiji throughout his entire time in Tokyo, tracking his father down, getting into scrapes with the local Yakuza (some of the Yakuza storylines felt a little bit over the top and convenient), falling for a girl; through to meeting his father, realising his father's a bit of a dick and he's better off without him, and reconciling with his mother. These aren't really spoilers, because the outcome of the story isn't the point. The point is the journey and the form.Because what's immediately apparent is that Cloud Atlas wasn't a one-off. Mitchell has always been the kind of author who delights in letting us know that he's clever enough to be able to fuck about with conventional story-telling narrative techniques. Making it clear that he refuses to be trapped by, or conform to, our simplistic notions of how a story should be. He is better than that. His use of form is all – even if the story suffers. Not so much unreliable narrator as unreliable author. But, to give him his due, it is pretty clever – he even manages to get the title to his later novel Cloud Atlas into this book. You just start to wonder if clever is all he's got.Each of the nine chapters is marked with an icon to represent it. An empty square, a diamond of four smaller contiguous diamonds, the astrological symbols for cancer and leo, the Japanese characters 回天 (Kai Ten), etc. Some seem to be tightly tied to the events in that chapter, others less so. Each chapter has two narratives running through it. The main narrative is the story of Eiji, the secondary narrative is the 'dream': a series of fantasy alternative events, flashbacks to his childhood with his sister Anju, a video game, a series of short stories he's reading, diary entries, etc. Again, some of them integrate well, others feel more like Mitchell was just searching for a second narrative. As the chapter switches between the two narratives they are coded with the chapter's icon or a solid diamond. This feels quite structured at first, but kind of becomes less rigid as the book progresses – almost like Mitchell kind of forgot why he was doing it and got bored. Then, ultimately, the book comes full circle as Eiji realises that a minor event at the start of the novel has become key to the completion of the end.The ninth chapter is empty. Like those pages in technical manuals that say "this page left deliberately blank". This is explained by Lennon himself, in one of the 'dream' narratives, because "The ninth dream begins after every ending.".

  • Tara
    2019-01-25 03:20

    number9dream was nearly as awesome ascloud atlas--and still a 5 star novel. this book demonstrates one of the things i love most about mitchell--his ability to write in a number of different voices convincingly within the same novel (hardboiled/cyberpunk/actiony, the weird and whimsical goatwriter stories, the diary of a japanese soldier in WW2), which he accomplishes here without sacrificing the clarity and honesty of his narrator's voice. eiji miyake is one of the most likeable protagonists i've ever met!! i love how mitchell messes around with fantasy/dreamery/memory/fiction/reality, so much that in the end i still can't necessarily sort out what was really "real." eiji starts out as a self-consciously unreliable narrator, tacitly admitting he's led the reader on by presenting his fantasies as fact. but in the end, it's unclear whether he might be the subject of someone else's fantasy... he acknowledges that he's imagined himself to be the dream of the real eiji miyake... but does acknowledging that make it untrue?? once you realize you're dreaming, is it still a dream? the dream/fiction/fantasy sequences are laced with double-edged clues about imagination and reality ("How do you smuggle daydreams into reality?" "My imagination is my worst enemy--no, that is not true, but the comfort it gives me is never warmer than tepid.") ... i sensed even more crazy existential shit lurking beneath the surface (the lost property office? anyone?) but i can't figure it out without going all High School English right now, and i stopped reading this book with a pen after page 50 or so because it was just getting too insane.much has been made of the comparison between mitchell and murakami, particularly in this book (#9 Dream/Norweigian Wood, etc.), and people have pegged it as "murakami lite" or a "murakami wannabe" sort of thing. i tend to like mitchell's books MORE than murakami--it's like, similar themes, but less abstruse and oppressive. i also think mitchell's writing style is so much more colorful and pleasing than murakami's, down to individual words. my boat is particularly floated by "mandolineering gondoliers" and "zombie spawn abseil to earth" (the NYT calls mitchell's prose "comically overripe"--but funnily enough, that review is titled "Zombie Spawn Descend to Earth"...) and i was totally tickled by the linguistic-schtick in the goatwriter tales: "I daresay you had another writing dream, sir, like the time you dreamed you wrote Les Miserables. You very nearly took Victor Hugo to court for flagellism."i have decided that mitchell should write some children's stories. he has a tongue-in-cheek way with words and sounds that rings of Carroll, Seuss, and Snicket: "Don't you dare clomp your mucky mudluggers on my clean carpet!" and "the tracks end in this m-mulch m-mound of Stiltonic stench" ... and it should come as no surprise that i got a good giggle out of this one: "'An unwashed rodent?' verified Goatwriter. 'Bigger than a mouse? Aha! We m-may conclude, thusly, that the thief is a d-dirty little rat! We m-must apprehend this scallywag and teach him a thing or two about copyright law!'"

  • Chris_P
    2019-02-18 10:06

    What a strange, strange book! How colossally it fucked with my mind. During the first chapter I was thinking "I'll be damned if I have a clue what's going on". The rating I had in mind was in the two-star territory until halfway through. It's not that it was bad, but after Ghostwritten, it wasn't what I expected. For the next few chapters, an additional star made its appearance and then the final chapter happened to me. You read right. It's not so much that you read number9dream as it is it "happens" to you.Mitchell's prose is like a thick liquid made by substances of all kinds. At times, I caught myself reading a sentence again and again either to properly suck in the lyrical, almost poetic, flow of words or to experience again and again the clever, scratch that, the brilliant meanings hidden behind. Number9dream is full of proverb-like witticisms and word-games such as "Could my quixotic quest be a quite quotidian query?". And it's not just the prose but also the dialogs with the top moment being when Eiji (that is, our protagonist), in a dream, asks John Lennon what Tomorrow Never Knows is about and John says "I never knew". "But you wrote it", says Eiji and John answers: "No, it wrote me." Number9dream is often satirical. With all the action-packed scenes and Yakuza references, it seems to make fun of a whole genre of books. But the true essence of the book is dreams. Dreams serve as a means of communication between Eiji and himself as much as between Mitchell and the reader. Careful and quality depictions of dreams in book and movies always hit a soft spot in me and this is no exception. And as if this wasn't enough, Mitchell throws in dozens of musical references, especially of John Lennon and his songs, as well as Murakami references whom obviously he's been greatly influenced by.I could go on and on about the dozens of threads that constitute this novel but I have neither the patience nor the eloquence to do them justice. It may have taken a while to get to me but when it finally did, it did with all its force. Mitchell is seriously and steadily making his way in my "favorite authors" list.