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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2001 David Mitchell (P)2012 W.F. Howes

What listeners say about Number9Dream

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé

Number 9
Number Nine
# 9
# Nine

Another Mitchell book I'm going to have to chew on for a bit to really bend my mental tongue around. At first, I was a little disappointed in it. This is my last Mitchell book left to read (I am now a Mitchell completist) and I was hoping for just a little more PoMo juice to squeeze out of his second novel. Three dreams into it and I was afraid Mitchell was aping Murakami (Norwegian Wood, A Wild Sheep Chase) and Joyce (Finnegans Wake) a bit too much in his persuit of a dreamy father-quest novel.

By the end, however, Mitchell salvaged the novel. It still seemed a little too packaged, too sterile, too neat and measured. Don't get me wrong, I liked it and obviously (I've now read ALL of Mitchell) I like how Mitchell writes, but I'm not sure #9Dream is even close to being top shelf for me of Mitchell's novels.

21 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good story. Wrong setting.

I've enjoyed two books by David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks. As this novel is highly critically acclaimed, I figured it would also be just as good.

The main plot of the story is about Eiji Miyake, a young 19 year old Japanese man who is searching for the father he never knew or met. Eiji also has a wild imagination and he tends to come up with incredible and outlandish scenarios (James Bond type action scenes, battles with crime bosses, etc.) that are occurring (or going to occur) during his search for his father. Of course, the line between reality and the imagined reality is blurred and we are left to wonder what is actually happening.

The word that comes to mind in describing this book is jarring. I use that word because of the setting that David Mitchell chose for the story. It's set in Japan and the main protagonist is a 19-year old Japanese man. Yet the tone of the book is very, very English. The cultural references, the manner of speaking, the societal perspective are all so very English. And obviously David Mitchell is an Englishman. So that's why I simply had a hard time rectifying what I was listening to and trying to mesh that with the setting of the story. Additionally, the narrator uses a variety of English, Irish, and Scottish accents for various characters in the story. Again, this is in JAPAN!!! It just doesn't sound right.

If this story was set in London, it would be fantastic. Here's the thing: David Mitchell is a very good writer. His descriptive prose is beautiful and the stories he tells branch out into so many areas of literature.The fact that David Mitchell chose to try and write a story about a Japanese man and the Japanese culture, yet ended up with something so very English just doesn't work.

I cannot recommend this book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • ML
  • 04-19-15

Another great listening experience

It took me longer (than with previous David Mitchell books) to become truly engaged with Number9dream - there were parts I resisted liking. As the story unfolded though, I began to care about Eiji and his fate and it became another book to savour. I may come back to it again in the future - to see what I missed the first time. The reading was excellently performed. Shame he did not also record Black Swan Green....

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

existential masterwork

Another great existential masterpiece from David Mitchell! Its performed amazingly. Bravo to the narrator. Lennon references are great too.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Mitchell-esque fantasy!

The range of audible reviews have lots of legitimate points. The narrator is fantastic, and it’s challenging for some to get into the different characters with various British accents, but I think that is the brilliance! Basically the accents highlight the different communities and societies within Tokyo and Japan, and I believe the narrator captured this as well as Mitchell intended. A fantastic sophomore work!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding storytelling

Number9Dream starts abruptly and takes you on a fast paced trip through many different scenarios. I have found that you need to really stick with the author as his beginnings have at first confused me a bit. The thing is, the more I read, the more I become immersed in the story, the more I love his writing. I don't normally gush about an author, but David Mitchell is by far one of the best modern writers out there. His stories are so complex, layered and full of meaning. Do not pass up the chance to listen! Once you give Mr. Mitchell a chance you will become hooked!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, beautiful, moving and the Best Read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Why? Because the author is a genius. The prose is ripping and the descriptions evocative and real. I am there.

What other book might you compare Number9Dream to and why?

Only other books by David Mitchell. He s unique. I suppose Murikami comes to mind a bit.

Which scene was your favorite?

I cannot name but one. There are, quite simply, too many and almost all. I suppose, overall, the way Tokyo is described is poignant. The scene in the 9 of Spades private club was memorable.

If you could take any character from Number9Dream out to dinner, who would it be and why?

The main character. AG. I cannot spell the name as I am half blind and only listen, so not sure of how to spell it.

Any additional comments?

I only wish this novel had been longer. The ending begs for a sequel.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Japanese literature?

Japanese literature should probably be left to Japanese writers. They really do it much better. Random references to John Lennon and other musicians. Lots of lists. There are lots of other writers who do it better- actually lots like the Beatles It's a nice pop band, but there are so many better bands out there to spend time and interest on.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Had no idea what was going on most of the time

I downloaded this because I absolutely loved The Bone Clocks. Some interesting and well written parts, but the overall story was an incoherent mess.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Would have been five stars... but the ending...

I'm not sure it's fair to give this book a four star on the story, if Mitchell had ended the book in some other way then I would have given it five stars easily, but the ending... The good is David Mitchell's writing style, the man can write, I mean good lord can he write. He doesn't waste words, but he spends ideas more freely than any other author I've read. There are several unfinished books hiding in these pages. I believe that is what I admire the most, the details in the background. There are characters in this book that I would like to read an entire novel about. There are worlds hiding in the margins that are passed through, but never fully focused on. The bad... hey I'm a Westerner, I'm gonna want a story tied off at the end. I realize that does not reflect life but stories are made for catharsis, and this one doesn't have that, not with the ending at least, the ending is anti-catharsis.