Sunday, 28 August 2016

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Published in September 2014.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014 and winner of the 2015 World Fantasy Award.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

How I got this book:
Purchased the ebook.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Bone Clocks is a sweeping epic of a novel, told from multiple viewpoints and covering over half a century in time from 1984 until the 2040s. Everyday events are blended with an overall fantasy good-against-evil arc and several heavy lectures about how mankind is destroying the Earth and our own futures. We first follow young Holly Sykes, a fifteen year old runaway from Gravesend, in a Black Swan Green-like storyline with lots of nostalgic 1980s detail. Holly was easily the most believable of all Mitchell's characters and I enjoyed her segment of the book. The fantasy element introductions here are intriguing, but peripheral. A time jump later we meet privileged Cambridge student Hugo Lamb and are whirled into drunken parties, skiing trips and underhand machinations. We also begin to understand more about the supernatural forces at work. I was still quite happy with The Bone Clocks at this stage, but when we had to spend many pages with jaded fading author Crispin Hershey, I began to lose interest. This segment might be hilariously funny if you're part of the literary in crowd, but I just found it self-indulgent and patronising. It's followed by an anti-Iraq occupation harangue that, to me, read like a synopsis of Imperial Life In The Emerald City and then Mitchell goes all Ben Elton on us in his near-future dystopia where there's No Internet. Scream!!!

I did read The Bone Clocks all the way through to the end and there were significant parts of it that I thought were brilliant, hence my overall three star rating. I liked the nods to previous Mitchell books such as Black Swan Green and Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet and caught myself wondering what other nods I might have spotted had I read more Mitchell books - neat marketing ploy! However the storyline rambles around too many Important Issues leaving me feeling distinctly hectored on several occasions and I wasn't convinced by the supernatural thread. All that effort to save four lives a year yet leaving a higher body count in their wake!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by David Mitchell / Fantasy / Books from England

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