- Book reviews of books the reviewer really liked

A review of Number9dream

by David Mitchell

A fast paced, dreamlike journey around futuristic Tokyo

Reviewed by: Alan McClymont
About Alan McClymont

Number9dream Eiji Miyake is 20 years old, na´ve and vulnerable. He arrives in Tokyo from his small town home determined to find his father who he has never met. The world which Eiji inhabits is not like the world which you or I inhabit. Eiji is a dreamer. Much of his life takes part in a fantasy world. He goes from one daydream to another. At one point, Tokyo is completely flooded while he drinks coffee at another he has an imaginary conversation with his cat.

This is essentially where the wonder of this story lies. Eiji is a wonderfully constructed, lovable character but after a while you begin to find yourself doubting his narrative (even, occasionally, his sanity) as he ploughs from one wild adventure to the next. The great thing is that when things are really happening to him you can never be quite certain that he his not making it up. You continuously find yourself playing detective and try to catch him out.

This fantastical, dream like atmosphere is exacerbated by the fast pace of the plot. Like real life Tokyo everything moves quickly and the futuristic city is reflected in the way that the author takes many of his references from the digital realm. Many of the ideas seem much more related to video games and action movies than to any sense of real life.

As a result of the pace and confusion of the narrative things creep up on you that you never expected. There are real morals and real life observations in here but you just don't see them coming. It is such a surprise when they happen and it suddenly feels like you have a point of reference at last. This confusion doesn't hinder your enjoyment, rather it serves to enhance the good feeling that you experience when you unravel what you have been reading. A thoroughly enjoyable read which you will finish and want to start over again. I would suggest that you do because it only gets better the second time.

Click here to buy this book, or read more about it at Number9dream

Copyright © by Alan McClymont, 2003

Reviewed by Alan McClymont :
-- Dead Famous - by Ben Elton
-- Neither here nor there - by Bill Bryson
-- Lucky Jim - by Kingsley Amis
-- Round Ireland with a fridge - by Tony Hawks
-- The River at the Center of the World - by Simon Winchester
-- The Rape of Nanking - by Iris Chang
-- Timeline - by Michael Crichton
-- How to Be Good - by Nick Hornby
-- Notes from a Small Island - by Bill Bryson
-- Player Piano - by Kurt Vonnegut
-- Wilt - by Tom Sharpe
-- Number9dream - by David Mitchell

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