Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812966923, 416pp.
Publication Date: February 11, 2003
A novel as accomplished as anything being written. Newsweek
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.
Praise for Number9Dream
Delirious a grand blur of overwhelming sensation. Entertainment Weekly
To call Mitchell's book a simple quest novel . . is like calling Don DeLillo's Underworld the story of a missing baseball. The New York Times Book Review
Number9Dream, with its propulsive energy, its Joycean eruption of language and playfulness, represents further confirmation that David Mitchell should be counted among the top young novelists working today. San Francisco Chronicle
Mitchell's new novel has been described as a cross between Don DeLillo and William Gibson, and although that's a perfectly serviceable cocktail-party formula, it doesn t do justice to this odd, fitfully compelling work. The New Yorker
Leaping with ease from surrealist fables to a teenage coming-of-age story and then spinning back to Yakuza gangster battles and World War II era kamikaze diaries, Mitchell is an aerial freestyle ski-jumper of fiction. Somehow, after performing feats of literary gymnastics, he manages to stick the landing. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
From the Hardcover edition.
Praise for David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten
“Mitchell . . . has a gift for fiction’s natural pleasures—intricate surprises, insidiously woven narratives, ingenious voices.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Mitchell is a fabulous ghostwriter fueled by a brilliant imagination and buoyed by beautifully descriptive writing. Ghostwritten is a brave new book for a brave new world.”
“To complement its heady themes, Ghostwritten is also elegantly composed, gracefully plotted, and full of humor. . . . [It] recall[s] Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in its emotional scope and its ambitions. Like the great Russians, Mitchell makes us feel that more is at stake than individual lives, although it’s by individual lives that pain and loss are measured.”
—Los Angeles Times
“An intricately assembled Fabergé egg of a novel, full of sly and sometimes beautiful surprises. . . . In an era in which much literary fiction is characterized by unearned ironies and glib cynicism, it’s hard not to be impressed by the humanism that animates Mitchell’s book. . . . Worth a dozen of the morally anorexic novels that regularly come down the pipe.”
—Daniel Mendelsohn, New York magazine
“Reminiscent at times of DeLillo, Murakami, and science fiction, especially in its continual probing of what is real and what is not, this book remains very much its own thing. . . . It is a thrill to read a piece of fiction this engrossing, challenging, urgent, and ultimately, so very new.” —Booklist
“Unlike so many other chroniclers of the twenty-first-century pastiche—an industry dominated by ad men and feature-writers, not novelists—Mitchell has set out to craft actual characters, not archetypes. The result is a dazzling piece of work.”
—The Washington Post
“This is one of the best first novels I’ve read for a long time. . . . I read a proof of this on a transatlantic flight. When I got off in Atlanta, I couldn’t put it down. I pulled my luggage in one hand along corridors and escalators, and held David Mitchell’s last chapter up to my nose with the other. I finished at the carousel. It seemed appropriate. And it’s even better the second time.”
—A. S. Byatt