The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Published by Random House Publishing Group on 2014-09-02
Genres: Fantasy, Literary, Science Fiction
The New York Times bestseller by the author of Cloud Atlas | Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize“With The Bone Clocks, [David] Mitchell rises to meet and match the legacy of Cloud Atlas.”—Los Angeles TimesFollowing a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born. A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting on the war in Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder. Rich with character and realms of possibility, The Bone Clocks is a kaleidoscopic novel that begs to be taken apart and put back together by a writer The Washington Post calls “the novelist who’s been showing us the future of fiction.” An elegant conjurer of interconnected tales, a genre-bending daredevil, and a master prose stylist, David Mitchell has become one of the leading literary voices of his generation. His hypnotic new novel, The Bone Clocks, crackles with invention and wit and sheer storytelling pleasure—it is fiction at its most spellbinding.Praise for The Bone Clocks “Astonishing . . . [Mitchell’s] brought together the time-capsule density of his eyes-wide-open adventure in traditional realism with the death-defying ambitions of Cloud Atlas.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice) “One of the most entertaining and thrilling novels I’ve read in a long time.”—Meg Wolitzer, NPR“Magical . . . perfectly illustrates the idea that we’re all the heroes of our own lives as well as single cogs in a much larger and more beautiful mechanism. [Grade:] A”—Entertainment Weekly “Rich in detail and incident, funny, rueful and terrifying by turns, The Bone Clocks is a tour de force.”—San Francisco Chronicle“Mitchell is one of the most electric writers alive. . . .The Bone Clocks [is] his most far-flung tale yet.”—The Boston Globe“A slipstream masterpiece . . . Mitchell is a genre-bending, time-leaping, world-traveling, puzzle-making, literary magician.”—Esquire “A rich selection of domestic realism, gothic fantasy and apocalyptic speculation . . . another example of Mitchell’s boundless dexterity.”—The Washington PostFrom the Hardcover edition.
I’ve not read anything by David Mitchell before, and honestly had no idea what to expect. This book is a wonderfully engaging story that weaves through generations. And for those looking for a deeper connection to a book, a book that touches on current issues, it is also a commentary on our lives and society. About how our world works and how we treat each other and the planet we live one. I love aspect of the book.
Magic’s just normal you’re not used to.
This book is comprised of 6 sections, each set in a different time period. The first section introduces us to Holly Sykes. She’s the common thread that pulls each of the other POVs/sections together and she is a very strong, well developed character with a personality and story that I found to be captivating. To be honest, this first section just sucked me without mercy. The second and third sections, while I was sorry to not have Holly the primary character, quickly pulled me in as well. Each of these three sections I cared about the characters, I wanted to know more, and I had a hard time putting the book aside.
Now, I debated about how to handle this review. One of the things I really enjoyed was having no idea where it was going. Each section wondering who I would read about next. For that reason, I am opting out of talking in any detail about characters other than Holly. I’m not even going to mention names, even though I realize they are likely detailed in any number of reviews. I enjoyed going in blind, and I am going to try to leave you with as much of that experience as possible, and still give you some idea about my reaction to the book.
Halfway through, I was convinced I was going to give this one a full five star rating. Then I got to section 4. At this point, I felt like this book stumbled a bit for me. Looking back, I feel like the book fell into two parts. The first part, the first 3 sections of the book, were extremely hard to put down and while the plot was interesting, it was the characters that I was really attached to. The next couple of sections, that was not the case. I felt like at that point, the story became more plot driven, the bigger picture was coming more into play and the characters in sections 4 and 5 just weren’t as captivating. Since I had been reading for the characters until this point, it was a bit of a transition for me. Don’t get me wrong, they were not bad. I just felt like it lost momentum. It took me until almost the end of the fourth section to really care about that character at all. But he grew on me. Eventually. The good news, is the end made up for any loss in momentum. Big time.
There is magic/super natural occurrences in this, but it’s not what made the book what it is. They were interesting and definitely added a bit of mystery to what was going on. They also allowed many of the themes in the book to be emphasized. Themes? Why, yes. This is a book that leaves you thinking about relationships, everyday life, global policies, social inadequacies, the complete lottery of privilege, disparity in quality of life, sustainability and environmental impact of our ‘necessities’. So much to think about. But these themes are not beat over your head, they are very well done. If your the type of reader that does not care for this, don’t worry. It’s far from a preachy book and I think you could just read the story at face value and still enjoy it. But hopefully you’ll explore a bit deeper.
4 thoughts on “The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell”
The format actually sounds very similar to his Cloud Atlas (different stories told in different time periods). It’s a cool style, but also made the book feel disjointed, and I felt very much the same way you described here. Makes me think I should probably skip this one, but I’m glad you had a good time with it!
Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Lootz: Mogsy’s Book Haul
Most of the transitions I took in stride, but obviously not all of them. I did realize Cloud Atlas was the same,
Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Golden Son
I’m dying to read this! I just have so many review books to read I don’t know when I’ll fit it in. Glad you enjoyed it!
Tammy @ Books Bones & Buffy recently posted…Life Before Blogging: My First Experience Writing Book Reviews
I’m having the same, too many books, I don’t know how to read them all thing as well 🙂 hope you enjoy it when you do get to it.
Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Golden Son
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