Number9dream by David Mitchell

It’s kind of ironic that I changed blogs because I was tired of only writing book reviews, and my second post here is… a book review.

It’s been three years that I read David Mitchell for the first time – and I will always be thankful to the friend that lent me Cloud Altas. And just yesterday I finished reading the last book by Mitchell I had left, Number9dream.

I already knew that the author had been in Japan for a few years and, after reading the brilliant The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoët, I wasn’t surprised when I found out the book was set in Japan.

The main character is a nineteen-year old named Eiji who has abandoned his rural hometown for Tokyo in order to find his father. It looks like a simple, coming-of-age plot, isn’t it? Well, you never know what to expect from David Mitchell, so I assure you it is much more than that. For one, Eiji has a wild imagination and spends some of his spare time indulging in his daydreams. And there is no way for the reader to tell whether what you are reading is what is actually happen or not. Because it is a novel, I think I’m always inclined to blindly believe whatever the narrator is telling me, so this led to a fair amount of confusion. But I think this was intended.

Actually, Eiji’s imaginations is what I liked the most of the novel – together with a few winks to other novels by Mitchell such as Cloud Atlas. The plot is… unbelievable crazy. It could almost pass for one of these thrillers where an ordinary man is thrown into a dangerous situation that could end up in World War III or the like.

But, it is written by David Mitchell, so it will be a pleasure to read no matter the content.

To sum up, it is a good book, but it is perhaps the book by this author that I have enjoyed the least. It has a good premise, some nice and unexpected turns, but overall I did not find the characters relatable and the story did not engage my attention either.

By the way, the book’s title is taken from John Lennon‘s song, #9 Dream.


I did not imagine there were such pretty gardens in the center of Barcelona.
I did not imagine there were such pretty gardens in the center of Barcelona.
Joan Maragall Gardens –– FYI, Joan is a man's name where I come from, it's the Catalan equivalent to John.
Joan Maragall Gardens –– FYI, Joan is a man’s name where I come from, it’s the Catalan equivalent to John.

I started writing this review earlier this morning, when I was resting from my walk around Montjuic – it is something between a mountain and a hill in Barcelona. Now that I know for certain that I am leaving this city, I feel the need to visit some spots I may have disregarded or completely forgot about in the first two decades of my life.

 
 
 

One of them is Montjuïc. Almost everyone has visited the castle as it has one of the best views of Barcelona, but the gardens surrounding it are not well known. I discovered them two years ago when waiting for Muse at the Olympic Stadium. Together with some friends we went for a stroll and discovered there were pretty gardens everywhere! Unfortunately, it was 5:30 AM and all of them were closed, so I promised myself I’d come back.

 

They are actually very nice, and each of them very different. Joan Maragall’s Garden reminded me of the “classic” French Garden from the XVIIIth century, which I love. On the other hand, Joan Brossa’s Garden is more of a well-kept forest, where you can see the type of flora and fauna we have in the area. In any case, both are very quiet places, and not very far away from the center.

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