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David Mitchell

Number9dream

Number9dream

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The second novel from the author of }Ghostwritten{ is set in Japan; and is about a young man's search for the father he has never met. ''Gripping and beautifully written'' }Literary Review{. Originally due to be published in November 2001; publication was held off until April 2002 after the book's appearance on the Booker shortlist. *Also appeared in November/December Buyer's Notes David Mitchell's second novel; number9dream; uses a similar episodic format to his brilliant but fragmentary debut Ghostwritten to create a more coherent and assured narrative that is part detective; part coming-of-age; story. Eiji Miyake; 20; naïve and wholly loveable; encounters a frantic; exotic world when he comes to Tokyo from his small island home to find the father he has never met. Pin-stripped drones; a lip-pierced hairdresser; midday drunks ... Not a single person is standing still ... a thousand faces per minute ... oven-hot ... ready to buckle under the weight of cloud at any moment. Eiji is a dreamer; a Billy Liar for the Cyberpunk generation. His fantasies structure this frenetic kaleidoscopic narrative; conducting the reader on an exhilarating; disorientating tour of metropolis and mind. One minute Eiji is contending with arcade-game cybourgs; the next caught up in a Blue Velvet-type nightmare with real-life (perhaps) gangsters: ''dragged into a turf war between wolves with rabies''. So what was crazed and charming becomes dangerous and gripping. This exotica and cyber-unreality allow more traditional novelistic concerns--a boy's coming of age; the exploration of ethical responsibilities or the great human universals of love and duty--to creep up unobtrusively. Pretty soon the realisation dawns: this isn't just fun; this isn't just clever; this is a great; perhaps a very great; novel. A Joycean delight in language and parody combines with affectionate characterisation and an impressive narrative control to make number9dream an extraordinary and rewarding experience. --Robert Mighall

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