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Number9dream [Paperback]

David Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

11 May 2006
As Eiji Miyake's twentieth birthday nears, he arrives in Tokyo with a mission - to locate the father he has never met. So begins a search that takes him into the seething city's underworld, its lost property offices and video arcades, and on a journey that zigzags from reality to the realm of dreams. But until Eiji has fallen in love and exorcised his childhood demons, the belonging he craves will remain, tantalizingly, just beyond his grasp.

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Number9dream + Ghostwritten + Black Swan Green
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  • Ghostwritten 7.27
  • Black Swan Green 6.29


Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; 2 edition (11 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340747978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340747971
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial and South Bank Show Literature prizes and the Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well. David Mitchell's sixth novel is The Bone Clocks (Sceptre, September 2014). It has already been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

He now lives in Ireland with his wife and their two children.

Product Description

Amazon Review

David Mitchell's second novel, number9dream, uses a similar episodic format to his brilliant but fragmentary debut Ghostwritten to create a more coherent and assured narrative that is part detective, part coming-of-age, story. Eiji Miyake, 20, naïve and wholly loveable, encounters a frantic, exotic world when he comes to Tokyo from his small island home to find the father he has never met.
Pin-stripped drones, a lip-pierced hairdresser, midday drunks ... Not a single person is standing still ... a thousand faces per minute ... oven-hot ... ready to buckle under the weight of cloud at any moment.
Eiji is a dreamer, a Billy Liar for the Cyberpunk generation. His fantasies structure this frenetic kaleidoscopic narrative, conducting the reader on an exhilarating, disorientating tour of metropolis and mind. One minute Eiji is contending with arcade-game cybourgs, the next caught up in a Blue Velvet-type nightmare with real-life (perhaps) gangsters: "dragged into a turf war between wolves with rabies". So what was crazed and charming becomes dangerous and gripping.

This exotica and cyber-unreality allow more traditional novelistic concerns--a boy's coming of age, the exploration of ethical responsibilities or the great human universals of love and duty--to creep up unobtrusively. Pretty soon the realisation dawns: this isn't just fun, this isn't just clever, this is a great, perhaps a very great, novel. A Joycean delight in language and parody combines with affectionate characterisation and an impressive narrative control to make number9dream an extraordinary and rewarding experience. --Robert Mighall --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

If anything more amazing than his debut, Ghostwritten, this Booker-shortlisted fantasia confirms the Hiroshima-based Mitchell as the most prodigally gifted of young British novelists . . . an extraordinary literary cabaret of dreams, visions and pastiches, from video-game rides and gangster rumbles to suicide submariners. Endlessly ingenious and hugely enjoyable - but oddly moving as well. A rich showcase for 21st-century fiction. (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

David Mitchell's second novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and it's not hard to see why. The narrative has a langorous, dream-like quality - the result of being structured around Eiji's fantasies. Mitchell writes well in a range of different moods and styles: funny, poignant, humdrum, violent. Most strikingly of all, he depicts Tokyo as a bewildering labyrinth, which provides the perfect backdrop to the desultory wanderings of Eiji's mind. (Observer)

A clever, contemporary reworking of classic videogame/quest themes . . . This videogame is made not of zeros and ones, however, but of dream fragments and poetry . . . the beautiful, snake-like narrative twists and tangles around leitmotifs borrowed from action films, manga, anime, SF, fantasy, old detective novels, mob stories, coming-of-age romances, cyberpunk, epic quests and war stories . . . Mitchell rolls around in implausibility, takes some incredible literary liberties, and - yes - gets away with it. (Scarlett Thomas Independent)

It's a measure of the precocity of David Mitchell's talent that this novel, the author's second book, is nearly a rare example of a satisfying "anti-novel". This experimentation with narrative form is usually reserved for authors with comfortably established book sales and secure reputations. It is told dexterously . . . The book progresses through quick changes of style and texture. This fixes one's attention on the delights of Mitchell's prose. Almost without realising it, you find that you have fallen for Eiji, and that his plight has registered at a deep level. (Paul Tebbs Daily Telegraph)

Exceptional . . . more than a surreal detective story or coming-of-age novel, more than a portrait of Tokyo or stream of adolescent consciousness, it is unique: clever, unusual, gripping and beautifully written (Literary Review)

A delirious mix of thriller, tragedy, fantasy, video games and a portrait of uneasy modern Japan . . . A deserving Booker nominee. (Guardian)

Wildly inventive (The Sunday Times)

I haven't enjoyed a novel so much in ages; wild, bristling with strangeness (Christopher Fowler Independent Books of the Year)

Resounds to the same marvellous chatter of voices that marked out Ghostwritten, his outstanding first novel (Observer)

Even more dazzling than Ghostwritten (Matt Thorne Independent on Sunday)

Captures aspects of modern Japan with a compelling authenticity and beauty (Daily Telegraph)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Talent 30 July 2003
Format:Paperback
I read a review of this book that wondered how the author managed to get this published. I can only assume that this person is a frustrated, unpublished writer, because this sounds suspiciously like sour grapes to me. I knew David very briefly (and very slightly) when we were teenagers and he was always writing like a dervish even then. It was always clear that he was immensly talented, and these books prove it. I loved this one, and adored 'Ghostwritten' which I've read over and over again. When you finish it you want to go straight back to the beginning and start again. Number9Dream is great, but buy both books, is my advice. I just hope he gives us another book soon, can't wait. And David if you read this, bloody well done, mate.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hard to get into........but worth it in the end 21 Mar 2007
Format:Paperback
This is the last of David Mitchell's current output I have read. After being utterly enamoured by 'Cloud Atlas', 'Ghostwritten' and 'Black Swan Green' I was really looking forward to this. I'd have to say though that this is the hardest read of Mitchell's four books. The other three really WERE "unputdownable" but this one I had to give up on half way through and come back to it after a few weeks.

The central figure of the book is Eiji Miyake, a kid from the sticks, and his adventures in the Tokyo metropolis. He arrives in Tokyo on a mission to find his biological father, having lost his twin sister in an accident and been abandoned by his mother. The book tells the story of his seven weeks in Tokyo. The narrative employs Mitchell's trademark magical realism to illustrate Eiji's travails.

Like all of Mitchell's other works, 'Number9dream' is best seen as a collection of tales rather than an uninterrupted story. It flits between reality and Eiji's imagination with ease. I found this fine for the first part of the book but I got lost in the chapter "Study of Tales". For the first time reading Mitchell I didn't get the point! I still don't know what the stories Eiji was reading here were about. Perhaps I'm just not perceptive enough, but this felt like a little bit of Emperor's New Clothes. Hate to be too critical but there you are!

The rest of the book is thoroughly enjoyable and I'm glad I read it. I particularly liked the Yakuza sequences. Very violent, very Manga. The chapter describing the war diaries of Eiji's great uncle was also very well written.

A good book but not as good as the rest of David Mitchell's work. If you're coming to him fresh read 'Cloud Atlas' or 'Ghostwritten' first.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, Well Written but Self Concious 1 July 2009
Format:Paperback
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anime in Fiction 11 Jun 2008
Format:Paperback
This book hit me with a refreshing karate chop to my senses. Just when I thought new fiction was getting a bit stale, here comes Mitchell. The plot line to this story is pretty one-dimensional and straight foreward; a young man in search for his father, But The truly delectable bits are Mitchell's description of Tokyo; it's streets, characters and plethara of small details are offered to the reader in multitude. Like an action anime cartoon or a martial arts film, Mitchell manages to string along so many interesting tangents into his seemingly simple story. However, it's not about reading it to find out what happens next and here I must warn you: if you are expecting a clear beginning, middle and end-type book, then look elsewhere as the sequence of events are not wholly linear. It could get frustrating at times as the tangents are long, and beautiful. Nevertheless, it manages to keep the reader in suspense and wondering what happens next. Overall, a great experience and I thank Mitchell of painstakingly taking me with him to Tokyo. A truly magnanimous success.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A gift for my son who loves these books
Published 11 days ago by V. Rees
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!!!
Great book. David Mitchell is a brilliant writer
Published 13 days ago by AJM
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read so far
Only 10% through but loving the pace and mix of style of writing. Switches from early stories to later effortlessly.
Published 1 month ago by Wendy Weller-Davies
2.0 out of 5 stars Amazing... for the first 200 pages or so. Then gave up.
I have read Ghostwritten before and loved that novel. Then I started with this one and for the first 200 pages I thought it was absolutely amazing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by James
5.0 out of 5 stars Persevere, it's worth it!
Unlike Cloud Atlas, which is instantly captivating, Number9dream takes a little while to get into properly. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nick
5.0 out of 5 stars top stuff from Mitchell
Will re read and to enjoy some more more words required to get to the minimum get this book it's
Published 6 months ago by Bic 4-way Biro
5.0 out of 5 stars another stunning book by David, why can't it just continue?
Oh, that's the point
He is so good, you know his characters so well by midway; by the end, you just miss them
Published 6 months ago by Mr. A. R. Forbes
2.0 out of 5 stars Laboured
This novel is very pleased with itself but feels synthetic and is trying far too hard.

I thought Cloud Atlas was a great film from a flawed book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Partial Mind
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
This is the fourth book I have read by David Mitchell, and just as with Black Swan Green, I find myself wondering and worrying about the main character long after I have finished... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Polly
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
Like in all M's novels, in this book there is a profound emotional thread laced just beneath the surface of the pages' fluent ebb. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Papa San
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