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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.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Mar 15, 2001
ISBN: 9781588362155
List price: $11.99
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(Well, I see Mitchell is a star 'LibraryThing' author. But these notes are for me, not for authors -- and does anyone read these reviews, anyway?)This is a forgettable, cobbled-together fantasy of contemporary Japan. Not 'Joycean,' as reviewers have said; and it's good to remember that 'futuristic beauty' (as on one of the cover endorsements) is easy.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The main character, Eiji, is searching for his mysterious father whom he has never known. Through his quest Eiji encounters obstacles from every angle including the yakuza. This book is a wonderfully imaginative modern quest through Japan.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Number 9 Dream is a captivating and intelligent novel, well written - as one would expect from David Mitchell, and with some deep themes. The book is about a Japanese young man who is in search of the father who abandoned his family when he and his twin sister were born. He is also haunted by another significant event of his past. Through the book, the search for his father gradually bears fruit, but ultimately it becomes clear that this knowledge was never important, as the protagonist - Eiji - comes of age through a series of enlightening experiences. But this is no ordinary coming of age novel as much of the action takes place in Eiji's head. His dreams are as important to the narrative as the real events - and sometimes its a little tricky to separate what is real from what is imagined.In the end, we see that the number 9 dream is that which starts after every ending. That is, when the other issues are resolved and Eiji comes out of the dream world and seems to wake up into this world, the 9th dream begins - the beginning of Eiji's real life. (Shades of the much shorter "Dandelion Wine" here!)Parts of this novel were gripping, and the whole narrative sweeps you along. However it is not my favourite book for various reasons - most notably that this seems to be a rather self conscious attempt to write a Murakami novel by David Mitchell. The very title hints at this. #9 Dream is a song by John Lennon. Murakami, of course, achieved fame through his "Norwegian Wood". Indeed, the dialogue in this book compares #9 Dream with the song Norwegian wood.Eiji is also found to be reading "Wind Up Bird Chronicle" as he contemplates his death - wondering what will become to the man stuck down the dry well.And there are many other subtle references to Murakami. The structure of the book has trademark Murakami surrealism. We have love hotels and prostitutes and bad sex. We have the multiple threads and war time reminiscences. At times I thought I actually was reading Murakami.Anyone who has seen my reviews will know I am not actually a big Murakami fan, because of his tendency to drop all the threads without resolution. Mitchell does not do that - except for the very deliberate new thread that is dropped at the end of chapter 8. But all the same, I think I would prefer to read David Mitchell for David Mitchell. I love his humour, his power of description, his ability to write in different voices, and his understanding of how to write a good story. This book contained all of the above, but I hope his future works are less self consciously derivative.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

(Well, I see Mitchell is a star 'LibraryThing' author. But these notes are for me, not for authors -- and does anyone read these reviews, anyway?)This is a forgettable, cobbled-together fantasy of contemporary Japan. Not 'Joycean,' as reviewers have said; and it's good to remember that 'futuristic beauty' (as on one of the cover endorsements) is easy.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The main character, Eiji, is searching for his mysterious father whom he has never known. Through his quest Eiji encounters obstacles from every angle including the yakuza. This book is a wonderfully imaginative modern quest through Japan.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Number 9 Dream is a captivating and intelligent novel, well written - as one would expect from David Mitchell, and with some deep themes. The book is about a Japanese young man who is in search of the father who abandoned his family when he and his twin sister were born. He is also haunted by another significant event of his past. Through the book, the search for his father gradually bears fruit, but ultimately it becomes clear that this knowledge was never important, as the protagonist - Eiji - comes of age through a series of enlightening experiences. But this is no ordinary coming of age novel as much of the action takes place in Eiji's head. His dreams are as important to the narrative as the real events - and sometimes its a little tricky to separate what is real from what is imagined.In the end, we see that the number 9 dream is that which starts after every ending. That is, when the other issues are resolved and Eiji comes out of the dream world and seems to wake up into this world, the 9th dream begins - the beginning of Eiji's real life. (Shades of the much shorter "Dandelion Wine" here!)Parts of this novel were gripping, and the whole narrative sweeps you along. However it is not my favourite book for various reasons - most notably that this seems to be a rather self conscious attempt to write a Murakami novel by David Mitchell. The very title hints at this. #9 Dream is a song by John Lennon. Murakami, of course, achieved fame through his "Norwegian Wood". Indeed, the dialogue in this book compares #9 Dream with the song Norwegian wood.Eiji is also found to be reading "Wind Up Bird Chronicle" as he contemplates his death - wondering what will become to the man stuck down the dry well.And there are many other subtle references to Murakami. The structure of the book has trademark Murakami surrealism. We have love hotels and prostitutes and bad sex. We have the multiple threads and war time reminiscences. At times I thought I actually was reading Murakami.Anyone who has seen my reviews will know I am not actually a big Murakami fan, because of his tendency to drop all the threads without resolution. Mitchell does not do that - except for the very deliberate new thread that is dropped at the end of chapter 8. But all the same, I think I would prefer to read David Mitchell for David Mitchell. I love his humour, his power of description, his ability to write in different voices, and his understanding of how to write a good story. This book contained all of the above, but I hope his future works are less self consciously derivative.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I guess I'm not sure which genre to classify this one as! Crime/fantasy? More "magical realism" than fantasy, I guess -- that phrase seems to be following me around. Okay, it's a crime/magical realism novel set in Tokyo, about a guy looking for his father and somehow ending up entangled in all kinds of dodgy gang-related goings-on. There are lots of scenes in this book which I had misremembered as being from other books (mostly Philip K Dick, also some Robert Rankin things, I think). I like the way this guy writes, but bits of it are a little overly violent for my tastes.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I found Number9Dream rewarding and frustrating in equal measure. The book follows a naive, video-game obsessed country boy named Eiji Miyake on his quest to find his father in a hyper-modern Tokyo. Miyake makes his way through the low-wage world of video stores, pizza delivery shacks, and love motels. In the course of his search gets mixed up with bloodthirsty Yakuza gang, falls for a beautiful waitress who also happens to be a brilliant pianist, and is taken under the wing of a debauched young playboy who might be his brother. Mitchell also weaves new texts into the action. The search introduces the diary of a Japanese soldier in WW11 who is preparing for a suicide mission in a manned torpedo. There’s also a manuscript describing a post-apocalyptic world where Goatwriter ( a creature who may or may not be a goat, who’s maid may or may not be a hen, and who’s butler is definitely a caveman) battles with a witch and a talking rat to keep his stories of the internet. In case that wasn’t digressive enough, Miyake frequently pops into dream worlds where he gets high with John Lennon and wrestles crocodiles. This sort of pop, over-the-top plotting can be annoying but Mitchell has the skill to pull it off. Unlike so many hipster picaresques, Number9Dream places the cool aside long enough to let the emotional worlds of his characters emerge -- as in the heartbreaking stories involving Miyake’s relationship with his twin sister. Whenever the book seems ready to ride off cliff Mitchell introduce some truly human moment that pulls the story back. One of the key problems with the book is its similarities, both in theme and style, to the work of Haruki Murakami. Mitchell is examining a dreamlike Japan with the same cool eye that Muyrakami has, and at times the similarities are so close it feels like imitation. At one point in the book Miyake goes so far as to mention that he read half of The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, but stopped at the part where the narrator got stuck in the well. It’s as if Mitchell is acknowledging that his characters are living in the same metaphysical loop Murakami’s do. It’s an odd moment, and it’s a little too precious to evoke a contemporary author whose work is mining the exact same vein. If I’d come to the book fresh I’d probably have found those similarities damning, but I came to this book after reading Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell’s stunning recent novel, and that book was so good the memory of it helped me give Number9Dream the benefit of the doubt. I’m glad I did. Despite the overly dense action, and the similarities to Murakami, there are great moments in this book. The story of Miyake’s early years is beautifully told, and when we finally discover where his quest is leading, the resolution is unexpected and rewarding -- at least until he veers off again into dream world apocalypse.
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19 year old Eiji Miyake has left his small isolated island for Tokyo, to search for a father he has never met. Split into 9 chapters, each one different, and told in 1st person we follow Eiji through his past, his fantasies and of course reality...The fun, hiccupping start to this novel left me joyfully wallowing in uncertainty. This novel could go anywhere, do anything and for one dizzying moment could be any genre. The characters and plot flow deliciously between mundane reality and movie outrageousness. In this tale facts can be slippery things and to be honest I can't wait for a reread as I devoured this novel so quickly.Mitchell has created a wonderfully deep character in daydreaming Eiji, we follow Eiji at so many levels (dreams, reminiscences even his reading material) it's almost like reading in 3D and as the story grows, so does the reader's understanding and attachment. The emotional impact of this story is strong: a lynchpin to the chaos.Sadly this organised chaos didn't always work: a children's story inserted late in the book was quite frankly dire. Meta fiction it may have been but I hated the style, story, characters and interruption of pacing. Although this didn't lower its overall mark because I am ridiculously happy to read this book.You may hate the uncertainty, the small interruptions, the ending (oh my what an ending!) or even find parts too violent or too raunchy but it's definately a novel worth trying: it's fun, it's different, an 'emotional roller coaster' I believe is the cliché to use here.. and it's great for a bit of post reading discussion :)
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