Published by Sceptre on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Print, Hardcover
One drowsy summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking...
The Bone Clocks follows the twists and turns of Holly's life from a scarred adolescence in Gravesend to old age on Ireland's Atlantic coast as Europe's oil supply dries up - a life not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air and brief lapses in the laws of reality. For Holly Sykes - daughter, sister, mother, guardian - is also an unwitting player in a murderous feud played out in the shadows and margins of our world, and may prove to be its decisive weapon.
Metaphysical thriller, meditation on mortality and chronicle of our self-devouring times, this kaleidoscopic novel crackles with the invention and wit that have made David Mitchell one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. Here is fiction at its spellbinding and memorable best.
So, before I get into this review, let’s talk about reading habits, because you’ll need some context of why it took me soooo freaking long to read this book. If you look at my Goodreads progress for this book, you’ll notice that it literally took me 363 days to read it. This is not at all a reflection on the quality of the book itself, but rather an indication of my bizarre reading habits. I’m a terrible reader, I have book attention span problems. I almost always end up reading multiple books at once because I’m such a mood reader. I can start a book and really enjoy it, but if I’m suddenly in the mood to pick up another book, I will. This really just means that I start a bunch of books, make a some progress with each one, and then eventually just end up focusing on one. And the cycle repeats itself.. I basically have magpie syndrome when it comes to books. Sometimes books get put down for a while because I get distracted and pick up a bunch of other books that end up getting finished before I finish them. That’s what happened with this one, although I feel like the structure of this books makes it slightly easier to do that. I’ll explain what I mean by that in a minute. I was hoping that book blogging would help me break this habit, but let’s be real, it hasn’t. Anyway, enough babbling about how I’m a shit reader, let’s get into the actual review.
This is my first David Mitchell book and even if I don’t end up reading any of his other books, I could easily give him a spot on my favourite authors list. Like I said, the fact that it took me so long to read it is not at all a reflection on this book, I really enjoyed it. Though I do think this is one that’s going to be slightly difficult to review because I don’t want to too much away. It’s better to go into it not knowing much about it. However, I do want to tell you some things about it. This book is basically broken into six connected novellas, and from watching and reading other reviews of David Mitchell’s books, it seems that most of his novels are structured in this way. This made it easier to put the book down for a while and come back to it later because every hundred pages or so, you’re introduced to a new character.
The first section in set in the year 1984, and we are introduced to the main character, sixteen year old Holly Sykes. She lives in the small town of Gravesend in England who figures out that she has psychic powers. She calls the voices she hears “The Radio People” and she meets a woman who is one of these radio people, and from there, a bunch of weird shit ensues. Holly’s brother Jacko disappears in 1984, and Holly has experiences psychic episodes within the first part of the novel. This is where the science fiction comes in, and you’ll be confused for a while but by the end it all makes. That’s what’s so great about David Mitchell; the twists and turns of the plot are confusing in the beginning, but when he takes all the separate threads and weaves them together into this magical overall plot, you’ll be sitting there clapping your hands because it’s so awesome. The central plot of this novel is basically immortality. I won’t say anything else about it other than the fact that there is a war between two groups, and Holly is basically caught up in the middle of this war.
I really don’t want to give away much more of the plot, so I’ll talk a bit about the other characters. Hugo Lamb is a college student who meets Holly in Switzerland. We get a glimpse of her in her twenties, which was nice. When I was reading Holly’s first section and it ended on such an intense note before switching the next section, it made it a bit difficult to get into Hugo’s section. I really enjoyed when Mitchell brought the story back to Holly to show how she was connected to everyone else as well. The next section, which was Ed’s story, was definitely one of the sadder parts of this novel; he is a war journalist, which means that we are kind of thrown into the war along with him. I really, really enjoyed his sections. Then we get thrown into the world of a once successful author, Crispin Hershey. When I originally started reading Crispin’s section, I had a bit of a struggle because he was a bit of an ass. I’ve heard that a lot of people don’t like Crispin as a character, but I felt he had a lot of character development throughout his section. Even if I wasn’t fully interested in a section at the beginning, Mitchell was able to eventually grab my interest and keep it as I made my way through the rest of the section. I really enjoyed seeing all the character development happen, and I loved learning so much about each character. Mitchell did an amazing job tying all the characters together, and making the novel feel cohesive. You really felt like all the information you were given about each character completely relevant to the story.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you enjoy sci-fi, and even if it’s not really your thing I’d still recommend it. It’s really amazing. I definitely plan to read Slade House by David Mitchell as well, which is basically a kind of companion novel, because it features some of the characters from The Bone Clocks. I’m really excited to get to that one soon. Anyway, that’s all for my review. Let me know if you’ve read this book or if you’re interested in picking it up. Let’s discuss in the comments! If you’d like to, feel free to purchase this book using my Book Depository affiliate link here.