Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Number9Dream by David Mitchell

Although Number9dream differs from Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas in that it is the telling of one story throughout - that being the story of Eiji Miyake, a 19-year-old Japanese boy who comes to Tokyo from his small island home in search of his long-lost father - it is just as all-encompassing, if not more so, than Mitchell's preceding and following novels. Number9dream is structurally defined by eight chapters, nine if you include the final, blank one. Each chapter flits between two narratives, Eiji's story and in each chapter something else - whether it be Eiji's fantasy-world, dreams, children's stories, a wartime journal, or letters. Basically it is as full and rich as any of Mitchell's others, taking you up, down, through and welding you to his character - Eiji - in the most captivating and interesting way.

I of course loved every word of it, am at a loss to describe how it made me feel, and the impressions of Tokyo I felt from it. All the hysterical, fantastical, violent and euphoric experiences Eiji has subsequent to his few weeks in Tokyo, real or imagined, broaden the understanding of him and fling you into a deep sympathy with him. His story is many-layered, full of coincidence, adventure, romance, daring, misfortune and friendship... and in the end, even though he claims that he feels "sad that I found what I searched for, but no longer want what I found”, it is his journey that is the most important thing - and it's stories like that which I like best... probably because they are cohesive with my own life theories.

I adore Mitchell's writing, and I've read everything he's published. He's one of my favourite authors & if you haven't read anything by him before, this one would be a great place to start. Go get lost in his surprising metaphors, riveting plots & turn of phrase that makes you gasp in delight. You can thank me later!

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