David Mitchell’s novels are either a) about Japan, b) about fantasy and magic, c) about climate change, d) about the American occupation of Iraq, e) about botanists, f) about UK teenagers, and/or g) about random historical referents to New Zealand and other former British colonies. The Bone Clocks is about, or at least involves, all of the above. And that may account for why this book weighs in at 624 pages, each bearing a clock bearing a different time.
Like Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Bone Clocks is a novel composed of interconnected novellas, each narrated by a different character that is somehow connected to Holly Sykes, an Irish-British psychic. We begin and end the story with Holly’s commentary, but also get to hear the varied voices of a raconteur British prep student, a war reporter, a sort-of-immortal doctor, a repugnant author. Over the centuries and continents these characters tell us of an invisible war playing out between “Atemporals,” those who have immortality with “terms and conditions.”
I took up this book because my now-wife gave it to me for Christmas, and it took me until August to muster the energy to tackle the tomb. But it sucked me in, and I devoured it over the last two days, much as Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet did.
Each of us bone clocks tread on towards our final hour. Spend a few of your remaining hours reading this book. It’s too much fun watching Mitchell switching voices and telling real and made-up histories not to pick up. And did I mention it ends in a cool Irish climate dystopia novella?
Availability: SMCM, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Shane D. Hall
Rating: Highly Recommended