Number9dream Analysis Essay


Candidate 316773

First Narrative Analysis Assessed Essay:

 Narrators as Characters in Two Psychological Novels of 2001

‘limited’ perspective Eiji is more fully characterised by analeptic traces in his FDT.We infer that he does not know who his father is from his comment that the rest of the public “know who ushered them on to Earth” (33). The obvious orientating functionof Eiji’s diegesis does not, however, prevent an extremely strong sense of mimesis being created through the immediacy of this first person orientation.This immediacy is created by the dominance of Free Direct Thought


. Theform is rarer in novels than indirect thought (IT) as it professes to a verbatimknowledge of a character’s thoughts, but this is exactly the effect required here,aligning the reader to Eiji’s direct perceptions in the present tense, as though he or shewere ‘really there’


.The inevitable distortions caused by indirect thought’s selection process are eliminated. This technique is supported by the almost exclusive reportingof speech in a free direct form, in which the framing clause is ellipted. Charactersspeak without the narrator as an intermediary. Events maintain a more naturalchronology where a framing clause would slow down text pace. On the surface textduration appears to be ‘scene’, but since Eiji lights a cigarette in sentence 27 and“entombs” it by sentence 46 there must be some summary. If anything, thisdemonstrates the arbitrariness of any relationship between text time and ‘ideal naturalchronology’ when a reader decodes text


(see Toolan 2001, 43).The closeness of reader-alignment to the narrator is heightened by the use of the ‘close’ deictic adverb


rather than the more remote adverbial


(sixinstances to three):It would be so much simpler if you would just drop by


for a sandwich (35)‘Is there a machine in


?’ (507)while I stand


nitpicking with you, I got ninety angel-fish at theMetropolitan City Office in danger of asphyxiation (176)Had a hell of time getting in


, y’know (222)you burst in


, expecting to intimidate me (284)‘Security will be


within thirty seconds.’ (307)The last four instances are taken from Eiji’s imagined adventure, demonstrating thatthis close alignment is retained even when he is the imagined subject of an embeddednarrative layer. This directly contrasts


’s third-person strategy, in which agreater mix of direct and indirect reporting means that exceptional narrative shifts aremade when Briony becomes focaliser. In this more ‘distanced’ account there are asmany instances of the adverbial




(two of each):


By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

“A novel as accomplished as anything being written.”Newsweek

Number9Dream is the international literary sensation from a writer with astonishing range and imaginative energy—an intoxicating ride through Tokyo’s dark underworlds and the even more mysterious landscapes of our collective dreams.

David Mitchell follows his eerily precocious, globe-striding first novel, Ghostwritten, with a work that is in its way even more ambitious. In outward form, Number9Dream is a Dickensian coming-of-age journey: Young dreamer Eiji Miyake, from remote rural Japan, thrust out on his own by his sister’s death and his mother’s breakdown, comes to Tokyo in pursuit of the father who abandoned him. Stumbling around this strange, awesome city, he trips over and crosses—through a hidden destiny or just monstrously bad luck—a number of its secret power centers. Suddenly, the riddle of his father’s identity becomes just one of the increasingly urgent questions Eiji must answer. Why is the line between the world of his experiences and the world of his dreams so blurry? Why do so many horrible things keep happening to him? What is it about the number 9? To answer these questions, and ultimately to come to terms with his inheritance, Eiji must somehow acquire an insight into the workings of history and fate that would be rare in anyone, much less in a boy from out of town with a price on his head and less than the cost of a Beatles disc to his name.

Praise for Number9Dream
“Delirious—a grand blur of overwhelming sensation.”Entertainment Weekly
“To call Mitchell’s book a simple quest novel . . is like calling Don DeLillo’s Underworld the story of a missing baseball.”The New York Times Book Review
Number9Dream, with its propulsive energy, its Joycean eruption of language and playfulness, represents further confirmation that David Mitchell should be counted among the top young novelists working today.”San Francisco Chronicle
“Mitchell’s new novel has been described as a cross between Don DeLillo and William Gibson, and although that’s a perfectly serviceable cocktail-party formula, it doesn’t do justice to this odd, fitfully compelling work.”The New Yorker
“Leaping with ease from surrealist fables to a teenage coming-of-age story and then spinning back to Yakuza gangster battles and World War II–era kamikaze diaries, Mitchell is an aerial freestyle ski-jumper of fiction. Somehow, after performing feats of literary gymnastics, he manages to stick the landing.”The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

From the Hardcover edition.

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