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Summary

As Eiji Miyake's 20th birthday nears, he sets out for the seething metropolis of Tokyo to find the father he has never met. There, he begins a thrilling journey where dreams, memories and reality collide as Eiji is caught up in a feverish succession of encounters by turn bizarre, hilarious, and shockingly dangerous. But until Eiji has fallen in love and exorcised his childhood demons, the belonging he craves will remain just beyond his grasp.

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

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Suprb narration of a difficult book

Any additional comments?

The story itself is a serious and complex interweaving of dream, reality, love, violence rejection and acceptance as the 20 year old hero finds himself and his past. Reading the story aloud presents the narrator with challenges found in few other works and William Rycroft could not have done the job better, as his vivacity, characterisation and clarity lifts this book from page to the reader. I know I shall come back to this book. If it is to the print rather than the audio version, Rycroft's voice will never be far from my mind.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting and different listen

David Mitchell is one of those really versatile writers who do different styles for every book they write . This book cleverly combines more than 1 style within itself. Initially this is slightly confusing, I think particularly in audio, but once you've got going with it, it becomes much clearer and easier to follow. As with all his books, it's very well-written and is also well narrated. If you're looking for something a bit different, then this is definitely a good one to go for.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Just not as good as 'Ghostwritten'

Would you listen to Number9dream again? Why?

Probably not, as 'Number9dream' was a little bit of a laboured listen for me. I found the first two thirds of the story to be entertaining and engaging. Then I reached the fifth section of the book, called 'Study Of Tales', which I found to be stodgy and hard going. After this fifth section, I feel that Mitchell successfully reclaimed some of the energy of the earlier parts of the novel, however I then felt he lost it again towards the end of the novel and it became like wading through tar once more.

What other book might you compare Number9dream to, and why?

I would compare this to something like 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit' by Jeanette Winterson. There is more than a passing resemblance between these two postmodern tales, as in both of them, a young adult, with a penchant for fairy tale and the fantastic, unwittingly undertakes a significant journey of self discovery.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The whole of the third section, 'Video Games', was very enjoyable. I enjoyed the Yuzu Daimon character and the interplay between him and main character Eiji, in which Daimon was like the little devil on Eiji's shoulder. This section felt very electric and energetic; like anything was possible and it really captured the immortal and infinite emotion of 4 youths sharing one night together, in Tokyo. I basically enjoyed it anytime Yuzu Daimon was in the story!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This novel invoked a range of emotions in me. This ranged from laughter, fear, frustration and boredom to name just four. I don't think you can read / listen to 'Number9dream' and it only solicit one response out of you.

Any additional comments?

Mitchell has very deliberately exaggerated main character Eiji Miyake's position as an unreliable narrator. Almost the first 30 minutes of this book are fantasies in Eiji's mind, so I could not help but second guess and question the legitimacy of what is told in the rest of the novel. Just how much is a actually happening and how much is fabricated in Miyake's mind? There is a certain enjoyable quality in this and definitely think it lends the novel a more human quality as a result, but it also led to feelings of frustration for me, in that I would constantly be thinking to myself that what is being related could all just be imagined. Also, the novel is set in modern day Japan and I personally found it a little difficult to keep up with some of the names of characters and places.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

it is a Mitchell!

Well written, well read, well enjoyed. After the epics I thought "oh no", "that couldn't be it" . It wasn't. This is another nail biting, fast, funny, yet sad and tragic. I will keep reading David Mitchell.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Like The Beatles Number 9

I have been a fan and chose the book on the basis of past delights, God, it was dreary ! It is clever in the Author's mind, no doubt, but so flat and unlistenable to in the Hearer's listening. It drags its weary way through surreal fantasies that do nothing to draw the listener/reader in. I had to delete and stat another book when I realised I was finding excuses not to listen to it and hating the story when I did.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Andy D
  • Waterlooville, United Kingdom
  • 02-10-13

Wooden and Tedious

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

At times I thought this book was written for children and if a few details were omitted, and some swearing, could easily become a children's book.

What could David Mitchell have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The dialogue as stilted, wooden and unconvincing.

The characters were boring and loathsome.

The story was slow and dreary.

I could not wait for the book to end.

Would you be willing to try another one of William Rycroft’s performances?

No I would not.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None at all.

Any additional comments?

Avoid at all cost.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Problematic narrative position

Too many meaningless detours and an awful narrative position meant not trusting the voice in writing.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • George
  • 13-03-13

Nice, pleasant and in some parts grave

As it is the first-fly review of this audiobook I will try to be consistent and precise.
First: the story. Comparing this creation to the rest of Mitchell's I would like to point out that in my opinion "Cloud Atlas" is in the lead. But "Number9Dream" can also be placed on my audiobookshelf. The plot is more simple, as well as the general idea, however, there are certainly some points which for me at least were thought-provoking. The story is full of unexpected twists so characteristic to Mitchell. What I did not like is the setting which is Japan; Japan is close to the author' heart and probably he has lived there for a long time, but his understanding and description of the country's life is totally different from Japanese authors (Murakami as an example) and I tend to trust locals more. For me Japan was too English, but it is just my personal opinion. Another deficiency in my view is action which sometimes, unfortunately, is created for entertainment only and without sense.
Second: performance. All in all the narration is good except some minor deficiencies. Sometimes while reading William Rycroft is too fast skipping from one piece of narration to the next and, bearing in mind that the story has quite a lot of sudden twists, it is confusing to understand what's happening. There is no change of voice in some dialogues which also slows down the general understanding of such parts of the book. But eventhough these inconsistencies the narrator felt the main topic of the story and gives no false impression of the book to listener. Thus derives the mark.
Summing up: although there are some drawbacks in general performance my marks are fives for the performance and the story and four overall for the setbacks.
Hope that this review will be of some help to future choosers. Enjoy the audiobook.