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Number9Dream Paperback – February 11, 2003
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I\The beginning of the book confused me at first, but once I got into the second section, I was hooked. As Eiji's character developed, I became more involved in the story. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Ellen
I love David Mitchell's writing. Each book is unique to itself. His use of language is rich and inventive. Number9Dream is a trip! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steven Cheyne-Cook
The narrative structure is probably Mitchell's most ambitious. It looks like something one might call 'literature' rather than 'fiction'. Read morePublished 6 months ago by DCD
The writing is excellent. What I found somewhat off-putting was how it kept jumping back and forth between past, present, and future, and between reality and dreams, and I'm not... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Pegasoi
“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”... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Cloggie Downunder
I recently discovered David Mitchell. I first read Cloud Atlas which I enjoyed, and then read Number 9Dream, which is somewhat different, but just as intriguing. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Elizabeth G. Flynn
OK, so I was slow to relate the book to the song. John Lennon without the Beatles was only John Lennon. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Frenchlaw