I really liked David Mitchell’s novel, Number9Dream, however, I find it difficult to compose a review.
The story is divided into 9 “dreams”, and the number 9 appears constantly throughout the book, in various forms — the main character was born on September 9, it’s been 9 years since a tragic event occurs, a room number is 333 on the 9th floor,9 vehicles arrive at the yakuza showdown, a deck of cards is shuffled “nine times for luck” and he thinks of Ai “ninety times per minute”. There is even a reference to John Lennon’s song, #9 Dream. As I was reading the book, I sometimes found it hard to discern whether I was reading a dream or was instead in the midst of the character’s reality.
The novel begins as Eiji Miyake embarks upon a journey to find his father, who he has never met. Through episodes that jump from dream to reality and back again, Eiji confronts his inner most self and faces his “reality” to discover his own identity.
Three of my favourite characters are: Goatwriter, a scholarly goat who writes incredible stories and loses them because he literally eats his words, his cook and housekeeper, Mrs. Comb,a hen and Pithecanthropus, their handyman. They live in a coach that moves around the land at its own whim. I also liked Eiji, Ai, and Buntaro.
There is a surrealistic feel to this book, as the reader is taken on a wild rollercoaster ride from the action packed first chapter and the reflections of the second chapter through crazy and dangerous yakuza wars and many dreamy sequences until the eighth chapter where Eiji finally comes to terms with his past.
This novel was dreamlike, surreal, funny and exciting. I would definitely recommend it.