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Number9Dream: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

David Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

“A novel as accomplished as anything being written.”Newsweek

Number9Dream is the international literary sensation from a writer with astonishing range and imaginative energy—an intoxicating ride through Tokyo’s dark underworlds and the even more mysterious landscapes of our collective dreams.

David Mitchell follows his eerily precocious, globe-striding first novel, Ghostwritten, with a work that is in its way even more ambitious. In outward form, Number9Dream is a Dickensian coming-of-age journey: Young dreamer Eiji Miyake, from remote rural Japan, thrust out on his own by his sister’s death and his mother’s breakdown, comes to Tokyo in pursuit of the father who abandoned him. Stumbling around this strange, awesome city, he trips over and crosses—through a hidden destiny or just monstrously bad luck—a number of its secret power centers. Suddenly, the riddle of his father’s identity becomes just one of the increasingly urgent questions Eiji must answer. Why is the line between the world of his experiences and the world of his dreams so blurry? Why do so many horrible things keep happening to him? What is it about the number 9? To answer these questions, and ultimately to come to terms with his inheritance, Eiji must somehow acquire an insight into the workings of history and fate that would be rare in anyone, much less in a boy from out of town with a price on his head and less than the cost of a Beatles disc to his name.

Praise for Number9Dream
 
“Delirious—a grand blur of overwhelming sensation.”Entertainment Weekly
 
“To call Mitchell’s book a simple quest novel . . is like calling Don DeLillo’s Underworld the story of a missing baseball.”The New York Times Book Review
 
Number9Dream, with its propulsive energy, its Joycean eruption of language and playfulness, represents further confirmation that David Mitchell should be counted among the top young novelists working today.”San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Mitchell’s new novel has been described as a cross between Don DeLillo and William Gibson, and although that’s a perfectly serviceable cocktail-party formula, it doesn’t do justice to this odd, fitfully compelling work.”The New Yorker
 
“Leaping with ease from surrealist fables to a teenage coming-of-age story and then spinning back to Yakuza gangster battles and World War II–era kamikaze diaries, Mitchell is an aerial freestyle ski-jumper of fiction. Somehow, after performing feats of literary gymnastics, he manages to stick the landing.”The Seattle Post-Intelligencer


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

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

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

From Publishers Weekly

A young Japanese man's quest to find his estranged parents throws him into a bizarre world of mobsters, dream villains and cyber-tricksters in Mitchell's second novel (after Ghostwritten), a hyperactive, erratic sprawl of a book that begins when narrator Eiji Miyake finds himself out on his own after his twin sister, Anju, dies: his alcoholic mother had had a nervous breakdown and left her two children with their grandmother when they were very young, and they have never met their father. Miyake makes the move from rural Japan to Tokyo to stake out the company where his father is a powerful executive. But his search lands him in a nebulous yet dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with an equally powerful Japanese mobster who uses Miyake's need to find his parents to kidnap and threaten him in a series of malevolent and nearly inexplicable scenes. The most coherent sequence in the narrative takes place when Miyake is contacted by his grandfather, a former seaman who gives Miyake his diary, a poignant account of his stint on a submarine in the final days of WWII, as the Japanese frantically scrambled to deploy a new undersea warhead. Miyake eventually manages to meet his parents, but those potentially affecting scenes are overwhelmed and overshadowed by Mitchell's relentless tendency to spin out futuristic, over-the-top scenarios in which Miyake is whisked away into strange settings and then abused as if he were the hero in a deadly video game. Mitchell showed considerable promise in his highly acclaimed debut, but his sophomore effort is so chaotic that it will test even the most diligent and devoted reader. (Feb. 26)Forecast: Rave reviews from the British press, a Booker Prize nomination and a five-city author tour will give this challenging novel a needed boost.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • File Size: 770 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0012SMGOC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,506 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious novel that stumbles under its own aspirations October 17, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In "Ghostwritten" David Mitchell produced a novel that was stylish, engaging, and above all, clever. He created a fascinating portrait of the chance meetings that drive us on to our destinies; a task that in less gifted hands would be burdensome, but that was elegant and light in Mitchell's. Unfortunately, "Number9Dream" doesn't quite live up to the high benchmark he set with his first novel.
The book's primary problem is that Mitchell was far too clever for his own good. As the reader follows the protagonist, Eiji Miyake, on his search for this father, and his place in the world, they are buffeted by numerous asides, dreams, stories, fantasies, etc. Any one of these is extremely well written, but taken as a whole they make for a disjointed reading experience. Their purpose is to explore the interactions Mitchell considered so deftly in "Ghostwritten" but as they pertain to just one individual. However, the end result is a chaotic mishmash that is frequently entertaining, and always well written, but rarely satisfying.
That said, I wouldn't necessarily recommend against reading "Number9Dream", for one thing a sub par effort for David Mitchell is better than 90% of what's on the market today. Moreover, he makes some really interesting points about the nature of society and his ending (which I am sure many found abrupt) is a fascinating point about the fleeting nature of contentment, ambition and desire.
In the end, David Mitchell should be complimented for writing a novel that challenges the definitions of plotting and characterization. While the attempt falls somewhat short, it is still a noteworthy sophomore effort. If you don't mind a novel that makes you work a little, "Number9Dream" is an interesting effort from a young writer who is just hitting his stride.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be patient! May 4, 2002
Format:Hardcover
First of all, most of the other reviewers comments are true, even the comments of those who hated the book. Here's the scoop: Number9Dream is brilliant and moving, occasionally violent and shocking, and almost never boring. The scenes involving "Goatwriter" are everything you might imagine from what you have heard. They are puzzling. They are a distraction from the main story. They are also quite funny in their way. Be advised that these scenes do not pop inexplicably out of the ether, as you might assume from the other reviews posted here. The main character, Eiji, is hiding from those who might kill him, and he stumbles upon the text of a story. To bide his time, he reads this story about Goatwriter. It's odd, but it fits. Most importantly, readers who wade through that short section will find they've enjoyed one of the most satisfying novels they've read in a very long time.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Book from my Favorite Author January 25, 2005
Format:Paperback
DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD

I love the condescension of this book's reviewers. Most of them see fit to deem Mitchell's novel as 'ambitious', that he was far too clever for his own good, but not quite clever enough for them. One reader was barely able to compel himself through the first 60 pages, but was still able to deduce that Mitchell's work was in this instance "fundamentally masturbatory" (I have no idea what book this guy was reading).

A FANTASTIC READ

If you want to read an excellent novel, I would hate to have you be dissuaded by numbskulls with a hazy grasp on the definition of the term 'disjointed.' For a novel that "challenges the defintion[sic] of plotting" the narrative thread is marvelously clear. It is, at its core, a book about a boy searching for his father. But more than that, its a book about a boy's life and everything that fits into that life: what he's thinking, where he comes from, what he wants.

I KNOW YOU'LL LIKE IT

I think reviewers who gave this book 3 stars or less had difficulty with the novel because in Number9dream Mitchell deals in the fabric and machinery of human imagination, how it compels us through the mundane, how it propels us through our fears, and how some of us are driven to nurture it, to stoke its fires and, at times, to give ourselves over to its power.

So if you are not willing to surrender, if briefly, to imagination, this is not the novel for you. But otherwise, give it a chance, let yourself go, and for God's sake love this book. I do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a candy dream June 25, 2003
Format:Hardcover
Is Eiji Miyaki really storming the Pan Opticon skyscraper and breaking into files that finally reveal his father's identity, or is he just daydreaming about it? That is always the question in Number9Dream, David Mitchell's fast-paced new novel which bobs and weaves between its main character's real-life search for identity and his rich fantasy life, between his initiation into a corrupt, money-driven megapolis and his quest for young love. Mitchell, who won considerable acclaim for his first novel Ghostwritten, is sure to garner more attention for this inventive, mysterious book.
By far the most interesting thing about the novel is its Tokyo setting -- rendered as a shimmering urban nightmare, alternately realistic and futuristic. Eiji, a green boy from a remote Japanese island, comes to Tokyo to find the father who abandoned his mother when she became pregnant. Soon, he is adrift in a stew of syndicated crime, private sex clubs and an illegal trade in human organs.
Underneath the surface drama, Number9Dream is also a novel about parents and children. Eiji puts the rest of his life on hold until he can connect with his father. But Ai, the girl he falls in love with, shows him what true strength is. When her parents threaten to disown her if she pursues a musical career in Paris, she chooses the City of Light and lets her mother and father go. Eiji's love for Ai and his own risks and brushes with disaster eventually teach him that not all dreams are worth dying for, and that a young man learns his identity by making his own hard choices, not by trying to recapture a lost past.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment.
number9dream is David Mitchell's second book that regrettably it did not live up to the genius of his debut, Ghostwritten. The story had promise yet the execution was too flawed. Read more
Published 1 day ago by MSJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Indescribable
Literally, indescribable. There's something about this book. It's virtually incomprehensible, I'm not sure I empathise with anyone in it, and it weaves in and out of being ironic,... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Fred Strydom
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterful halucination
Flawed but amazing. You're never sure what's real and what's not and it's an amazing ride.
Published 1 month ago by Noam Reshef
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful work! As always with David Mitchell's novels ...
A masterful work! As always with David Mitchell's novels, its always a shame to reach the last page as I want to read on and on, despite the substantial length of his books.
Published 1 month ago by annie palmer
4.0 out of 5 stars How many dreams were there?
Were they all dreams? Am I just a dream? Did I dream this book into existence? Are you dreaming of reading this?
Published 2 months ago by Edward J. Bohls
5.0 out of 5 stars David Mitchell has become one of my favorite authors.
I've never been able to get into Murakami, but this book, which has some of his style running throughout, was thoroughly enjoyable. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Doug Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Brilliance
I was not prepared for how this novel developed. This is a superb novel full of surprises based on a 20-year Japanese young man in search of his father.
Published 2 months ago by Allan Vorda
3.0 out of 5 stars Number9Dream... or Helter Skelter?
I suppose it had to happen at some point. Having discovered David Mitchell by reading Cloud Atlas, and having moved on to all of his other books at lightning speed, it was... Read more
Published 3 months ago by LA
2.0 out of 5 stars I have loved every other Mitchell book
Fell Flat and went nowhere. I have loved every other Mitchell book. This one is a dud and the ending was very unsatisfying. The rest of it wasn't much better. Read more
Published 3 months ago by W. Converse
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't like this as much as the predecessor
I didn't like this as much as the predecessor. Wasn't sure what was going on too many times and the story wasn't holding my attention. Read more
Published 3 months ago by pamela scott
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More About the Author

David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, and Ghostwritten. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, his newest novel The Bone Clocks has been selected for the 2014 longlist. Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell translated from the Japanese the internationally bestselling memoir The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

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