chapter  2
“ . . . with a foot in both worlds”: The Liminal Ethics of Jenny Diski’s Postmodern Fables
ByMARIA GRAZIA NICOLOSI
Pages 17

Postmodern fiction frequently indulges in the ludic disruption of conventional or traditional narrative and social norms. David Mitchell's novel Number9Dream offers different kind of response in that it envisions a dreamlike alternative to reconstituting normality. The family constellation in Number9Dream is certainly rather unusual. The novel in effect pursues the family narrative of Eiji in a nostalgic mode and subsequently puts it in play by questioning the efficacy of the family romance, a concept that Freud developed to describe various forms of childhood attachment to actual and surrogate parental figures. This novel breaks with the realist tradition of the novel and instead employs narrative features such as dreams, cross-mediality, and interior monologue. By drawing on liminal forms and indeed creating a novel that is invested in breaking up the narrative logic of both its generic history and, by reversing the family romance, its thematic field, Mitchell's work marks a highly original contribution to the recent wave of limit-case trauma narratives.