My David Mitchell reading is complete and I miss him already. This was by far his strangest book (and the one that took me the longest to get into) however once again I was utterly in awe of his inventiveness, imaginative scope and ability to pull it all off.
The book centres on Eiji Miyake who has freshly arrived in Tokyo to find his father. Tokyo is a dreamlike cityscape full of interesting and banal people, both real and imagined. Eiji’s search for his father is a hunt to find his identity, a quest for the possibly unattainable, an expedition into life’s unknowns. He is thwarted by lawyers, stepmothers and even the Yakuza. He is aided by a lost property office, a video shop owner and a pizza shop. Like all great quests it is not about whether his finds what he was searching for but what and who he finds along the journey.
What impressed me the most about this novel was the way Mitchell captured a dream-like quality. “Dream-like” is a descriptive that has become almost clichéd but David Mitchell actually captures and presents what a dream is like and the way it makes you feel during and afterwards. At first this sensation is incredibly unsettling and off-putting, because like a truly great dream, he gives you no indication of what he is doing. You don’t know what is the “real” story and what is the “dream” part of the story. Sometimes you are convinced you are in the “real” part of the story only to “wake up”. And at other times you are waiting for the story to “wake up” but never do. By the end of the book though you are fully into the flow and interactions of dreams and reality.
And this is a story about dreams. What we make of them. What we learn from them. What they mean. And most importantly what they are trying to tell us.
David Mitchell has been my major book discovery this year and I am so tempted to turn around and start reading him again especially now I have seen how large his world is and all the pieces that join it together.
Classification: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Format: Paperback (196mm x 130mm x 29mm)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publish Date: 29-Sep-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom