Monday 22 September 2014

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

What a journey!

My first David Mitchell has left me glowing, gloating & groaning.

Glowing - in the delight of having found a 'new-to-me' author - I now have a whole back list of books to look forward to.
Glowing - from delight in finding such an absorbing, magical story that swept me across generations and times and worlds.

Gloating - that I was reading this year's Booker winner (until the shortlist was announced & he was missing from it!)

Groaning - that now I've finished the book, I miss it terribly. I miss Holly. I miss being in Mitchell's world.
Groaning - about the Crispin chapter - what purpose? why?
It didn't seem to add anything new to the Script, except for a little romantic angle and a trip to Australia.

The Bone Clocks is about purpose, relationships, good vs evil, freewill, doubt, time & timelessness, memory & the environment. All told with a hearty paranormal, science fiction twist.

The Bone Clocks also helped me to finally understand the purpose of twitter!
Sharing my favourite quotes with others reading the book at the same time added to my sense of journey & immersion in the story.

The Australian edition has an extra few pages of  "In conversation with David Mitchell" that talks about the Australian settings in the book. He describes Rottnest Island as

"an extraordinary location...that deep, burnished, glassy blue of the Indian Ocean, so unlike the ginger-beer-coloured English Channel of my childhood; the brain-broiling, skin-frying sun, drier and more dangerous than in Japan; and when a quokka lolloped across the road, I nearly fell off my rented bike."

Mitchell also talks about meeting Australian award-winning writer, Kim Scott who is a Noongar Elder and his time back-packing around Australia. Timelessness comes naturally to the Australian environment,

"The quality of light at dawn, and the alien (to my ears) birdsong and, how, in Europe, you have to go a long way and look selectively to find a view where nothing tells you what century you're in. In many regions of Australia, by contrast..., you can easily find a view containing no clues whatsoever about any century."

I loved this book from start to finish - even the slightly flawed sections. Holly was a character I cared for deeply. Her journey became my journey.

But now that I've finished it...what next? What should my next book journey be? Perhaps I will leave my 'what next' in Mitchell's very capable hands...because I've always loved a little bit of ambiguity!

"For one voyage to begin, another voyage must come to an end, 
sort of."


  1. I finished the book this weekend and also loved it (it was my 4th Mitchell novel - only 2 left, eek!) The Crispin character did feel a bit questionable but I didn't mind him much, not sure if the goal was to show change in a human, at first I was certain he would never change his ways. I loved the message of the novel as well. My favourite will remain The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, though.

    1. I started de Zoetrope several yrs ago but couldn't get into it. Since then I've heard a few people say the beginning was a bit of a struggle, but the rest was so worth it.
      Which one do you think I should try next?

    2. Very true about de Zoet - I kept asking my boyfriend and whining "When does it get good?" but it was so worth it.

      If you liked The Bone Clocks I would suggest Cloud Atlas, it also has complicated structure and several story lines.

    3. I was hoping you would say that Riv, as we have Cloud Atlas in our TBR pile already :-)

  2. This sounds like my kind of books. The themes that you mention are always of interest to me. I like a little bit of science fiction thrown in too.

    1. Some of the reviews for this book have not been as glowing as mine. My interpretation is that this is one of Mitchell's more accessible books (ie not as difficult) as some if his others. Therefore, a good one for a Mitchell novice to start with.
      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  3. Anonymous22/9/14

    I've been very tempted by this one as well and now even more so.
    I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. It's been a while since I've read a book I missed after finishing it. It's always so nice when it happens.

  4. Anonymous23/9/14

    Book hangovers are the best, because they mean you've just finished a great book, but also the worst, because you are faced with that very difficult question of "what next." I hope you find something good to follow up with. I've yet to read anything by David Mitchell. I have actually paid little attention to The Bone Clocks until now. It seems that I have to give it a close look now.

  5. I have never read anything of David Mitchell's and still not convinced I would like them. Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. You just made this a must read book for me! I can't wait to read it now.


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