Tuesday, September 07, 2010

David Mitchell Presents: An Unexpected Korean in Ueno Park

Shinobazu Pond
Ueno Park, Tokyo
(Image from Wikipedia)

I'm now reading David Mitchell's novel number9dream. Don't ask me why the title lacks interlexical spacing and capitalization. I don't know the answer.

The story so far (by page 133): Eiji Miyaki is searching through Tokyo for the father he's never met.

That's about it.

Well, not quite. He's already had several unusual adventures, not all of which occur in video games or his hyperactive imagination. One recent nonvirtual chance meeting with a certain Yuzu Daimon the previous eve has subsequently led him to an unexpected encounter in Ueno Park near Shinobazu Pond with the hostess from that evening, who had gone by the name "Miriam" in her place of employment but who perhaps has a different identity by day and apparently does not much care for Mr. Yuzu Daimon:
Her finger curses me as she hisses. "Tell him to go f**k himself! Tell him to sell his elopement fantasies to his squeaky schoolgirls! Tell him he is worth nothing! Tell him my country stopped being a Japanese colony at the end of the last war! Tell him if he tries to call I'll change my number! Tell him if he shows his face at my apartment I'll drive a fork into it! Tell Yuzu Daimon to slime away and die! And all of this applies to you, too!" (Mitchell, number9dream, page 133)
Hmmm . . . . "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." But she goes beyond protest to physical assault on Eiji Miyake's manhood, then adds insult to injury by coldly stating:
"I know exactly who you are, Eiji Miyake. You are a leech who tells lies for a living. Exactly like your father." (Mitchell, number9dream, page 133)
Well, this promises to get interesting for the reader . . . and for Eiji Miyake, too, if he can ever find Miriam again and persuade her to guide him to his anonymous father. Perhaps he will locate her, as soon as he's recovered enough to try. She's dropped a library book with a clue to her identity:
What book is it? I can't read a word -- it is in Korean. (Mitchell, number9dream, page 134)
Korea again. Didn't you already notice it in the "Japanese colony" reference? Mitchell may have spent his Asian years in Japan, but in his literary world, he often returns to Korea, and that makes his writing even more interesting for me.

Incidentally, the asterisks are my substitution, this being a family-oriented blog . . .

Labels: , , ,


At 4:50 AM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

Hi, Jeffery,

I recently finished Cloud Atlas (which really impressed me), and my husband just brought home Number9dream, so I'm only skimming this post, because I don't want to know much about the book before I read it.

I did want to ask you if you've ever read Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker, which was almost certainly an inspiration for the Sloosha's Crossing section of Cloud Atlas. Riddley Walker is one of my favorite books of the past, oh, half-century, and I was glad to see that it seems to have produced first-rate literary progeny in Cloud Atlas.

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Number Nine. Number Nine... Number Nine..."


At 7:00 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Kate, I don't think that I've even heard of Russell Hoban or Riddley Walker, but a quick Google check establishes a connection. Thanks for the recommendation.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, the Beatles reference is pretty clear, and the text itself makes repeated allusions to the Beatles . . . but why uncapitalized, and why run together?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a man continues in a bar, he brings champagne,someone un-named opens, whether the cup is filled or not, matters not #9. a woman enters the same bar, is it night, day, same day or before #9. page #9, paragraph #9 and the day begins anew...

apartment #9, day #9 of the 9th day of lease #9...

and whether the words've been whispered, ... #9


At 9:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, you're beyond me on this . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home