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Like his complex and cleverly constructed novels, a conversation with British writer David Mitchell is enjoyably cerebral and full of references to books, music and out-of-the-way places he has visited. Sitting in the famous sunken garden Shukkei-en in Hiroshima, the city he now calls home, Mitchell, 32, recounts his debut as a novelist and the excitement surrounding the nomination of his second novel, “Number9dream,” for this year’s prestigious Booker Prize.

The short-listing caught Mitchell by surprise. It “feels a bit like being Iceland in the World Cup,” he says with a laugh. He attributes the nomination to experimentation in the novel, also evident in his 1999 debut novel, “Ghostwritten.” Parts of “Number9dream” were a big risk: “I wanted to test the point of elasticity in what I was writing,” he explains.

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