number9dream by David Mitchell
Sceptre (hardback), 2002, first published in 2001
What It’s About
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.
“We are both busy people, so let’s cut the small talk. You already knew my name, or at least you knew it, once upon a time. Eiji Miyake. Yes, Ms Kato, that Eiji Miyake. Why am I here in Tokyo? Think about it. I am here to find out who my father is. And why you, Ms Kato? You know his name and you know his address. I never threaten anyone. But I am telling you that you are going to give me the information I want. Right now”.
I enjoyed the opening section of the novel when Eiji arrives in Tokyo. To be honest, I enjoyed the sections with Eiji looking for his father the best. There were some intense, slightly crazy moments which I found strangely compelling.
number9dream is too weird at parts for my liking. I really didn’t enjoy it when the narrative started to move into a weird fantasy world. I’ve read novels when this sort of things works well. Unfortunately, these sections of number9dream left me cold. I found myself flicking through them to get back to the real world.
I can see why number9dream appeals to some people but some parts didn’t do it for me. The weirdness was too much, even for my slightly warped mind. I do plan to read Mitchell’s other novels because Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks are two of the best books ever written so I hope I can find the spark from both of those books in his earlier books.
number9dream is okay but I didn’t enjoy it as much I thought I would.