Just finished reading number9dream by David Mitchell. I bought this book over a year ago and until yesterday, it lingered on my bookshelf looking a little dejected in its garishly colourful cover. I took it with me when I went home for the 10k run and finally read it on the train back to Oxford.
As I read it, watching the countryside trundle past, I remember thinking that surely novels must be the supreme form of mood-altering drugs – perfectly tailored, selectable and able to change your emotions far more subtly than any dopamine reuptake antagonist – and if novels are drugs, then number9dream was first among them.
I’m not going to write a full review of the book (there are plenty on Amazon) but it’s a peculiar mix of contemplative and dramatic styles, set in a near-future Tokyo with a charmingly naive protagonist and wonderfully sarcastic side characters. Beautifully written in a witty, dreamy way, its sentences run and mix together like curling smoke to form weird ideas and settings. Highly recommended. I’m looking forward to reading Cloud Atlas (thanks Lal!), and buying Ghostwritten.