33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Ambitious novel that stumbles under its own aspirations,
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This review is from: Number9Dream (Hardcover)
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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Initial post: Dec 16, 2012 10:44:51 PM PST
mika ming says:
i was reminded of Marakumi and some critics said Wilim Gibson, but I cant agree there. mitchell is a big writer and he was trying to do too much stuff and did not bring it off. some of the stories were brilliant and throught provoking and for those not familiar with Japan probably frightenng. by the end i really didn't care. He should have sold the yakuza sequence to Quentin Tarintion for a new movie.
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