by David Mitchell (read by William Rycroft)
Whole Story S (audiobook)
David Mitchell's number9dream picks up where his Ghostwritten took off. That visionary debut is a collection of globe-trotting, interlinked short stories that read like a novel. number9dream is a novel that feels like a collection of interlinked short stories. Eiji Miyake is searching for his father, who walked out on his family many years before. The 20-year-old's quest through a vividly rendered Tokyo doubles as a genre-hopping race across horror, science fiction, postmodernism and manga: a video game inspires dreams of a daring assault on a tightly guarded tower block. The dual levels suggest Eiji's fractured emotional life is imbued with strong doses of fantasy and escapism. William Rycroft's English tones take a little getting used to, but his clear, measured narration fits Mitchell's box of tricks perfectly. Sudden leaps from Eiji's tedious job in a Tokyo railway station to his colourful imagined life (yakuza, war diaries, strange monsters) are handled like matters of fact. number9dream is an embryonic work: Haruki Murakami is an obvious influence on Mitchell, to the point that Eiji can be spied reading one of the master's novels. While its bright colours hide a lack of depth, it is fun, ingenious and memorable.