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Number9dream


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • ISBN-10: 034085345X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340853450
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brad on Jan. 22 2002
Format: Hardcover
First of all I read an interview with David in the Sydney Morning Herald, where he talks about the mind as a meaning machine. I note the title down and commence searching. Then I notice elsewhere it's been nominated for the Booker. I search harder. Months later, I finally find a copy and settle in to read. Maybe the search for the book raised my expectations, but I ended up being disappointed. Mitchell has commented elsewhere that he admires DeLillo, and I have seen him compared with Gibson -- in my opinion, he doesn't approach either. Against the narrative scale of DeLillo, this novel is a children's story; against the cool minimalism of Gibson his Tokyo is a densely populated cartoon. Which isn't to say that the novel doesn't turn pages -- the inventive structure kept me intrigued and the play between dream and reality also created a sense of suspense -- the question is, were there no better novels to come out of the Commonwealth in 2001? In the end I think I'd be recommending the book to young readers looking for a path into literature -- not to readers of serious fiction, and certainly not to Booker judges...
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Format: Paperback
Okay, I realise (judging from some of the other reviews) that this novel will NOT appeal to everyone, but I thought it was brilliant. I loved the "manga" quality. And if anyone can hold such a wildly diverse novel together, it's David Mitchell. I think he's one of the world's outstanding young writers, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this eccentric, compelling work!
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Format: Hardcover
..., David Mitchell is obviously a fan of Haruki Murakami. In Number9Dream there are many cameo appearances of the works of Murakami, and the overall theme of the novel seems to be derived from Murakami's stable: disenchanted loner living in the crazy world of Tokyo's youth culture. Haruki Murakami has written some fine material, especially his brilliant The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. How does David Mitchell's Number9Dream hold up in comparison? Not very well.
The story itself, a complex tale of an illegitimate country boy going to Tokyo in search of his father, is interesting enough. Mitchell is most confident in his prose when delving into a side story concerning the yakuza, the Japanese crime syndicate his father obviously rubs shoulders with. But unfortunately our lead character is, quite literally, an avid dreamer. These weird dreams, constantly sprinkled throughout the novel, detract rather than enhance the story. Haruki Murakami is the expert in weaving surreal elements into his novels. David Mitchell fails, quite badly.
However all is not lost. There are vignettes within this overly complex novel which are actually quite interesting, and often the characterizations and the prose work very well. David Mitchell also captures the feeling of frenetic Tokyo quite convincingly. With better editting Number9Dream could have been quite a decent read.
Bottom line: Murakami fans will be appalled at this derivative material by Mitchell. Certainly not a terrible novel, but one has to wonder why Number9Dream was nominated for the Booker Prize?
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By Mark Delaney on 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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Format: Hardcover
David Mitchell's second novel tells us a story of a young Japanese man Eiji Miyake who arrives in modern megapolitan Tokyo in search of his father who repudiated him long ago. That forms an outline of the book which consists of nine parts. The structure of the novel and some of its plotlines are similar to the ones of the author's first novel "Ghostwritten": every part has certain degree of independence (even linguistic) but the plot of the second novel is undoubtedly more coherent and harmonious than of the first one.
Nine different parts of "number9dream" are like disparate edges of the human life in the modern world, they supersede one another: a mixture of sci-fi story with hero's vindictive dreams, sentimental flashbacks of hero's early life with his late beloved twin sister, a dive into erotical nightlife of the modern megapolis, a Yakuza story, a dystopian fantasy with excellent verbal tightrope-walking (which, I believe, played a substantial role in novel's shortlisting for the Booker Prize 2001), meditation about recent Japanese history and meaning of human existence, reiteration of some previous elements with noticeable mob tints, an apokalyptic denouement designed as a secession of dreams, and - silence. Having in mind such genre and wordy diversity every reader can find in the novel something to enjoy or ponder over (personally I prefer Goatwriter's language-twisting Study of Tales and historico-philosophical Kai Ten). Though the book consists of such different parts, it has sufficiently strict plot which joins the kaleidoscope of its separate parts in a kind of bildungsroman, the author of which tries to put eternal questions of human existence using postmodern literary gamut of the 21st century.
Yet the book has some weak points.
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