The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I bought The Bone Clocks partly because I wanted to be au currant in my reading list, and because I am one of those rare breed of people that enjoyed the film adaptation of the Cloud Atlas. I don’t pay full price for a lot of eBooks, but sometimes the hype around an author and their novel gets so intense, I just can’t ignore it. It was probably Maureen Corrigan’s review on NPR that had me clicking “Buy Now”.
I went into this one expecting a tightly woven tale of interconnecting stories, complex characters, and really big themes. In short, I was looking to have my mind blown—like doing acid and going to see 2001: A Space Odyssey (not that I have done that or am recommending it). As I got closer to the end of the novel I kept expecting the curtain to be pulled back and have this whole other truth about the story and the protagonist revealed to me. That never happened in the end, but enjoyed the novel for the most part, and always looked forward to picking it up and reading it.
I found the first two-thirds of the novel to be very entrancing. You’re meeting all these interesting characters, some with ulterior motives; powerful forces from the beyond are constantly threatening to disturb the peace, and literary chess pieces are being moved around, setting the stage for a battle to save all of humanity.
The best chapter in the book, “Crispin Hershey’s Lonely Planet” could stand on it’s own as a novella, but in terms of setting the stage for the climax, I’m still not quite sure how it fits in the puzzle. As for the denouement chapter, there is so much exposition, and so many new characters with difficult names to pronounce are introduced to the story, I found myself getting confused, and rushing to the end thinking, “Fight already will you?” However, David Mitchell’s vision of the world in 2043 in the final, is a nightmare I’ve had often.
The Bone Clocks certainly makes me want to read other books in David Mitchell’s oeuvre, and the impression I’m getting from reviews I’ve read and heard is this isn’t the pinnacle of his career, but he’s such an exceptional writer that people are willing to cut him some slack. I’m likely to agree. There were moments in the book where I was completely lost in his world, but by the time I got to the end, I felt myself wanting just a little bit more.